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CIAA tips off this week in Baltimore. Officials expect events to provide economic boost

CIAA tips off this week in Baltimore. Officials expect events to provide economic boost
CIAA tips off this week in Baltimore. Officials expect events to provide economic boost 02:50

BALTIMORE -  The CIAA, the nation's oldest Historically Black athletic conference, is returning to Baltimore this weekend.

The men's and women's basketball tournaments will take centerstage at CFG Bank Arena starting on Monday.

However, the tournament brings fanfare from across the country, giving Charm City an economic boost.

The CIAA Tournament is staying in Baltimore through at least 2026.

Fans have already started arriving for the always much-anticipated week-long event.

Bowie State University band and cheerleaders on Friday greeted CIAA Commissioner Jacquie McWilliams-Parker with a pep rally at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport.

"I anticipate this year will be the best year ever," McWilliams-Parker said. "That's the spirit that I have."

Over the next few days, Charm City will welcome 26 collegiate basketball teams, 13 cheer teams and 13 bands for the 2024 CIAA basketball tournaments, while moving from Charlotte in 2021.

"I think all of us in this room need to celebrate that because that did not have to happen, but because it's happened, it's uplifted this entire community," said Al Hutchinson, the President and CEO of Visit Baltimore.

The 2023 CIAA Tournament had about 38,000 fans during its 5-day run, and it generated a total economic impact of $29.6 million.

"Last year was great but this year will be greater," McWilliams-Parker said.

The week also generated more than $17 million in participant and spectator off-site spending, with just under $9 million of that spent in restaurants, bars, entertainment and attractions.

"It's a huge win, a huge win," said Julius Cavalli, Director of Operations at Power Plant Live! "I'm glad that they came here and I hope that they stay as long as they can." 

Cavalli, says the tournament brings a significant amount of business, and he adds, Power Plant Live! will be the place for fans to celebrate after the games.

"All weekend long we're going to have entertainment in every one of the venues, and on the main stage, we're going to have parties  in every single room, so there's a lot to do Friday and Saturday after 4, and Sunday, basically all day."

If you are planning on attending the games, keep in mind the roads will be much more Department of Transportation issues traffic advisory ahead of CIAA Tournament.

South Howard Street and South Baltimore Streets will be closed around the arena, so be sure to give yourself extra time before leaving.

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