RALEIGH — Raleigh is rolling out the red carpet for the start of theCIAA Tournament. After a five-year stay in Winston-Salem, the event could make a multimillion-dollar economic impact in Raleigh.
The city has more than eight million reasons to cheer. That is how much money the week-long CIAA tournament could generate.
Organizers sold every ticket available for all 22 games at theEntertainment and Sports Arena.
The women started their tournament on Monday. The men's teams begin play on Wednesday.
Arlene Sims is a CIAA regular. She has been coming to the games for 13 years. She does not mind the tournament move from her Winston-Salem hometown.
"We're down here for the week, me and my cousin," Sims says. "We have people coming down Thursday and Friday, but we are here for the week. I'm not going to miss anything if I can help it."
Leon Kerry, CIAA commissioner, says fan satisfaction will be a key ingredient to the success of the tournament.
"Once we start marketing and doing surveys, we start listening to the fans," Kerry says. "What is important to hear is that we have plenty of hotels. This is a hub. We are within a two and a half-hour driving distance from most of our schools."
The event is expected to bring in more than 30,000 fans throughout the week.