Charlotte welcomes CIAA spenders
Uptown hotels and restaurants are hoping this week's CIAA tournament will bring a much-needed boost in business. The CIAA basketball tournament for historically black colleges is back in Charlotte for a fourth year. The event typically attracts more than 150,000 people and CIAA officials say it's one of the largest basketball tournaments in America. Moira Quinn of Center City Partners says the CIAA tournament is as much about basketball as it is about parties for out-of-town spenders. And it comes not a moment too soon. "This is a time when a lot of people who live in Charlotte are not eating out, who are not going out very often," says Quinn. "And so we are particularly grateful for our CIAA visitors because they are going out. They are going out and they are staying in hotels." Quinn says most hotels uptown are fully-booked for the tournament, which starts tomorrow and runs through Saturday. The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority says CIAA visitors spent $21 million in Charlotte last year. Ticket sales for this year's tournament are down, but CIAA officials expect most games to sell out at the gate.