The CIAA announced Tuesday that its annual basketball tournament will be held in Baltimore instead of Charlotte from 2021-2023, a major loss for Charlotte’s tourism industry.
The week of games, conferences and festivities had an estimated economic impact of $50.5 million last year, making it Charlotte’s most lucrative annual event, according to the Charlotte Regional Visitor’s Authority.
Baltimore, roughly a 30 minute drive from CIAA member institution Bowie State University, beat out Charlotte and Norfolk, Va., the CIAA said in a statement.
The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the oldest African-American athletic conference in the nation, has held its popular basketball tournament in Charlotte every year since 2006.
When renewing its contract to host the tournament in Charlotte for an additional six years in 2014, the CIAA also said it would relocate its headquarters from Hampton, Va., to Charlotte. In return, the CRVA increased its annual payment to the athletic association from $1 million to $1.4 million.
The conference has said it will keep its headquarters in Charlotte regardless of its decision to move the tournament to Baltimore.
“This is an exciting time for the CIAA as we have an opportunity to bring the basketball tournament to a new market, moving it closer to many of our northern institutions who have traveled to Charlotte for more than a decade,” CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams said in a statement.
“We are incredibly thankful for our partnership between the CIAA, the City of Charlotte and the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA). Charlotte is still our home, we are still headquartered here… We plan to continue this great relationship.”