|Raleigh says no to CIAA Tournament|
|Published Friday, November 9, 2018|
The CIAA Tournament has gotten too big for Raleigh.
That’s the sentiment of the powers-that-be in their decision not to bid on the tourney after its contract is up in Charlotte in 2020.
Scott Dupree, executive director of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance, issued a statement recently, which The Tribune just received on Wednesday, outlining the decision’s details.
“We have reviewed and evaluated the RFP (Request For Proposal) carefully, and we have met with our primary host partners to discuss it in great detail,” the statement reads. “Those partners include the City of Raleigh (including the Raleigh Convention Center), Wake County, St. Augustine’s University, Shaw University, PNC Arena, the Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau, and many area hotels.
“After careful consideration, the GRSA and our partners have collectively determined that we will not be submitting a bid for the CIAA Tournament. We are unable to bid due to a variety of factors.”
Dupree goes on to list some of those “factors” like the event lasting for six days, which would put a crimp in the scheduling at PNC Arena. He notes that the tourney is now split into two venues in Charlotte: Bojangles Coliseum and Spectrum Arena.
“We are unable to offer a similar plan in Raleigh,” he wrote. “The lack of a second tournament venue is the single biggest factor in our decision not to submit a bid.”
The bid process also required a headquarters hotel with at least 500 “committable” rooms. The most Raleigh could offer, Dupree said, were 350.
And let’s not forget all the extras that come along with it – the day parties, speakers, banquets, breakfasts, vendors, you name it. The Charlotte Convention Center barely can hold all of the non-tournament activities, and Dupree said the Raleigh Convention Center is smaller in size.
And finally, Dupree said hotel owners balked at the idea of the CIAA restricting room rates and a required hotel room block to the point that several hotels were not going to submit proposals for tourney week.
“In summary, the CIAA Tournament has outgrown this market, most notably in terms of competition venues, meeting space and major hotel capacity,” he wrote. “In the future, we hope to meet the requirements of the CIAA Tournament and other major sporting events and conventions that are currently beyond our reach.”
It’s ironic that the CIAA has reportedly gotten too big for Raleigh since it was in the City of Oaks where the tourney got its groove back.
I attended its last year in Winston-Salem in 1999 before it moved to Raleigh. Being it was my first tourney, and getting to meet the legendary John McLendon, I was too much in awe to notice all the empty seats and the lack of a youth movement until later.
The CIAA needed Raleigh and vice versa, if only to prove to some “ignunt” folks that black people could come together, spend money and have a good time without the city burning down.
Charlotte probably would have never bid for the tourney if Raleigh hadn’t made it such a success, but you know how sibling rivalries go.
Now, according to my boss at The Charlotte Post, the tourney is on its way out of Charlotte to head further up north. Time will tell if the rumors are true.
There is one caveat to not having the event in Raleigh: no one asking if they can bunk for the week!
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