CIAA Tournament Economic Impact Rises; Charlotte Becomes New Headquarters for CIAA Office

August 17, 2015

The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament, hosted in Charlotte, North Carolina, produced an economic impact of $55.6 million in 2015 in spite of inclement weather. This figure is an increase of 19 percent from 2014.

Hotel occupancy also showed an increase from 2014 with a combined growth in Uptown Charlotte and overall Mecklenburg County hotels of 5.4 percent in 2015; according to the 2015 CIAA Basketball Tournament Economic Impact Study conducted by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA).

“The CIAA Tournament contributes $30 million in direct visitor spending to Charlotte’s economy annually. Not only does the tournament boost the city’s economic base, but it also contributes to Charlotte’s reputation as a rising destination that embraces diverse audiences and offers a plethora of intellectual, cultural, social and recreational opportunities. The CIAA’s relocation to Charlotte is yet another example of the city’s appeal as a great place to live and work,” say CIAA Board of Directors Chairman and President of Johnson C. Smith University, Dr. Ronald L. Carter.

Fans can now purchase tickets and book hotel rooms for the 2016 CIAA Tournament, which will be held at the Time Warner Cable Arena, February 23-27, by visiting Hotels can also be reserved by calling 1 (844) 293-6678 on Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. The newly designed website was re-launched to provide fans with an interactive experience and centralized hub for all news and official game and event information related to the annual tournament.

The CIAA established a new partnership with ConferenceDirect, a global meeting solutions company, to assist in improving the fan housing program, which was first introduced during last year’s tournament. The partnership was formed as a result of evaluating feedback shared in a survey the CIAA distributed to its fans shortly after the conclusion of the tournament. The CIAA listened and worked tirelessly through the new partnership with ConferenceDirect to provide individual incentives for fans who book through the housing program such as; discounts on room rates, special amenities, networking due to centralized location of available hotel options, reduced travel time and cost by providing access to hotels in close proximity of official tournament events, and guaranteed room reservations with a customer service team advocating for the fans if a problem arises with their hotel.

“We gauged the thoughts of our fans on areas we could improve their tournament experience. After evaluating the results, we found that customer service and communication with the housing program to be the main takeaway,” said CIAA Commissioner, Jacqie McWilliams.  “The conference reviewed several housing management companies and elected to move forward with ConferenceDirect, as they seemed to best fit our current needs for a fan base of our size and their overall industry experience.”

The CIAA officially opened their headquarters in Charlotte after last year’s announcement to move from Hampton, Virginia. The office is located at Two Piedmont Town Center in the Southpark area of Charlotte.  With 8 out of 12 member-institutions located in North Carolina, as well as 15 of their 16 championships and key sponsors, accessibility was a key factor in the decision to move to the Queen City.

“It’s been months in the making, but we’re so pleased to welcome the CIAA headquarters to the Charlotte region,” says Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority CEO Tom Murray. “We know that having Commissioner McWilliams and her team based here will help to enhance the tournament experience in the years to come. I have no doubt that our business leaders and the community as a whole will welcome them with the southern hospitality we’re so well-known for.”

For more information about the CIAA Conference visit For more information on how to purchase tickets and book your hotels to the 2016 CIAA Tournament visit,


About the CIAA

Founded in 1912, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) is the first African American athletic conference and one of the most recognized conferences in Division II. The CIAA conducts 16 championships attended by more than 150,000 fans from around the country. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, the CIAA is governed by the Presidents and Chancellors of its 12 member-institutions: Bowie State University, Chowan University, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, Johnson C. Smith University, The Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, Livingstone College, Saint Augustine's University, Shaw University, Virginia State University, Virginia Union University and Winston-Salem State University. For more information on the CIAA, visit For more information on the CIAA Basketball Tournament, visit, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

About ConferenceDirect

Headquartered in Los Angeles, with offices located in Las Vegas, Toronto and Charlotte - ConferenceDirect is a full-service global meetings solution company whose portfolio of services includes: Site Selection & Contract Negotiation, Conference Management, Event Hotel Bookings, Registration Services, Mobile App Technology and Strategic Meetings Management Programs. Our 325+ Associates manage over 9,800 meetings, conferences and events annually for more than 2,500 customers. For more information, visit ConferenceDirect at

This press release was distributed by the CIAA.

Derek Ross | (919) 225.9362 | [email protected]
Adrian Ferguson | (757) 298.4501 | [email protected]