RALEIGH, N.C. — Raleigh leaders are putting on their game faces. Bids to host the CIAA basketball tournament are due in two weeks. With more than $11 million in economic impact, it is a big event for the RBC Center and the city.
"The CIAA Tournament is the largest single event that we have in here," said David Heinl, chief executive officer at the Raleigh Convention and Visitor's Bureau. "What's significant about the CIAA is it's bringing in 12 schools from elsewhere into our community for a week and they're using hotel rooms or spending money in the restaurants."
"It really is more of a cultural happening as much as an athletic event. It means a lot to us," Mayor Charles Meeker said.
Meeker said the city also hopes to lure the CIAA headquarters and Hall of Fame. For now, fund raising is focused on keeping the tournament.
"The main thing is the amount of scholarships which the CIAA has asked be increased from $330,000 up to $600,000. That's the main challenge we're trying to address," Meeker said.
The proposal to bring the CIAA headquarters and Hall of Fame to downtown Raleigh is not technically linked to the tournament bid, but Meeker said it certainly does not hurt.
Raleigh faces stiff competition to keep the tournament from four other cities, including Charlotte. The winner hosts the CIAA from 2006 through 2008.