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MEAC Tournament Coming To Raleigh In 2006

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Raleigh will play host to a major basketball tournament next year.

The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Council of Chief Executive Officers voted to award the 2006 MEAC Basketball Tournament to Raleigh. The tournament is scheduled for March 6 to March 11 at the RBC Center.

Mayor Charles Meeker said he sees Raleigh/Wake County as "a destination for college, high school and amateur sports."

"In the past few years, we have embraced these types of sports events," the mayor said of the MEAC Tournament. "We see the MEAC Tournament as being good for Raleigh and Wake County from a business perspective as well."

The partnership is a three-year deal that will keep the tournament in Raleigh until 2008.

The bid from the City of Raleigh/Wake County pledges up to $550,000 a year to host the MEAC Tournament for the next three years. This includes contributions of up to $200,000 a year from both Raleigh and Wake County.

Additionally, the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau is contributing $100,000 a year and the Centennial Authority, which owns the RBC Center where the tournament games will be played, is guaranteeing a $50,000 annual contribution. Gale Force Holdings, which operates the RBC Center, is providing the arena for the MEAC Tournament.

It is projected the 2006 MEAC Tournament will attract 55,000 fans, with a projected economic impact on the area of $4.4 million, including bookings for 5,500 hotel room nights.

The MEAC is made up of 11 historically black institutions across the Atlantic coastline: Bethune-Cookman College, Coppin State University, Delaware State University, Florida A&M University, Hampton University, Howard University, University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, Morgan State University, Norfolk State University, North Carolina A&T State University and South Carolina State University.

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