City, county and community leaders are putting on a full court press to keep the CIAA tournament in Raleigh. Members of the visitor's bureau will submit three months of work to tournament officials in a formal bid Friday.
"By any measure, it is a huge event for our area, and it's one that we definitely want to keep here as many years as we can," says Scott Dupree, Wake County Director of Sports Marketing.
Raleigh has one year left on a contract to host the games. Winston-Salem, Charlotte and Washington, D.C. are competing for the next three years. Local officials hope to stomp out the competition using their track record over the past two years.
"The last two years the CIAA has been held at the arena have probably been the two most successful CIAA tournaments in history based on attendance, total ticket sales and student attendance," Dupree says.
Attendance is up from 42,000 in 1999 when the games were played in Winston-Salem to 68,000 this year at the ESA. Cities measure the real success in dollars.
The first year the tournament was held in Raleigh, it had an economic impact of $7.7 million. This year, it has been $8.8 million. A state-of-the-art arena, plenty of hotel rooms and a lots of community support are what officials hope put them over the top.
"This community has really rallied around this event and proven that we've embraced it. We support it and we want to make it as successful as we possibly can," Dupree says.
A written bid has been presented to tournment officials in Hampton, Va., which will be followed by a presentation in six weeks. Tournament officials should have their decision made by mid-October.