Local News

CIAA Tournament Bigger Than Just Basketball

Posted February 26, 2003 12:08 p.m. EST

— Hotels are gearing up for the Wednesday rush heralding the start of the men's 2003 CIAA Tournament in Raleigh.

Many area hotels have been sold out for weeks. One hotel said it has turned away at least 500 people.

According to the

Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau

, this year look like to set records.

The Bureau estimates the average person staying in a hotel during the tournament will spend $200 a day.

"I feel a little bit concerned about that because of the economy, but it seems like it will pass last year's record," said David Heinl of the Raleigh CVB.

Last year, 800,000 people attended games and activities during the week-long event. The CVB estimates the economic impact to Raleigh was nearly $10 million.

Success in Raleigh this year is critical as the tournament goes up for bid again for the 2006-08 seasons.

Charlotte was a finalist in the last bidding process, and wants a chance to host the tournament.

"I know if they are going to build a new arena in Charlotte they'll be even stronger competition next time when we bid," Heinl said.

Bob Johnson, the owner of Charlotte's new NBA expansion team, is expected to be in town for the tournament, no doubt scoping out the competition.