When the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association decided to move its tournament to Charlotte starting this year, some fans balked. Because the Queen City has only one league school, they feared the tournament would stop growing or even shrink.
They appear to have been wrong.
David Gwyn, who is handling marketing for the CIAA, is predicting about 125,000 people will come to Charlotte for this year's tournament. If that holds true, the CIAA would bring 14,972 more fans to Charlotte than it did during its final and most successful year in Raleigh.
Already, Gwen said, Charlotte has seen CIAA fans booking rooms for slightly longer periods than they did for the tournament's final year in Raleigh.
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In Raleigh, tournament attendees averaged 2.8 nights, while in Charlotte they are averaging 3.5. Gwen said people attending in Charlotte are, by and large, coming from farther away and therefore booking longer stays.
Tickets for this year's CIAA went on sale in late October. By Dec. 21, the Charlotte arena's premium and lower-level seats were sold out. Only upper-level, cheaper seats remain.