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CIAA tournament staying in Charlotte, headquarters moving to city

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Officials announced on Monday that the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) basketball tournament will remain in Charlotte for at least six more years.

CIAA officials made the announcement during a press conference on Monday afternoon.

"I would think that every organization," CIAA Commissioner Jacqie Carpenter said. "Has to make the best decision at the right time for the organization and I think that is what we did."

The decision comes on the heels of the 69th Annual Men's Tournament and 40th Annual Women's Tournament, which ended Saturday. The tournament has been hosted in Charlotte for the past nine years.

The new agreement would commit the tournaments to be held in Charlotte for at least the next six years beginning in 2015.

In turn, the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) will provide various benefits, including $1.4 million in funding annually, proceeds from which will be distributed among the 12 conference colleges and universities.

"I as mayor," Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon said. "Will be doing what I need to do to work with the City Council, I'm sure the chairman of the Mecklenburg Board of Commissioners will be working with his colleagues to do the same thing, because scholarships are so important and we need really for everyone to step up - not just in the public sector but also private sector, non- profit and faith based communities."

In addition to the basketball tournament remaining in the Queen City, officials announced the organization's headquarters will also move to Charlotte "in the near future." 

Carpenter says the move will happen sometime in 2016.

Officials say the relocation will enable the conference, the CRVA and other Charlotte entities to more effectively partner in the community, providing increased visibility for the CIAA and helping to secure enhanced sponsorships benefiting the 12 member-institutions.

"We look forward to forging an even more enhanced, collaborative and positive partnership with the City of Charlotte," says CIAA Commissioner Jacqie Carpenter. "It's been a home that has truly embraced the tournament and we look forward to growing the momentum we've experienced in these last nine years with renewed vision and energy that will help to shape the next generation of this event."

Last year, the tournament generated an economic impact for the region with $29.86 million in direct spending and $47.17 million in economic impact.

"On the heels of such a tremendous tournament, this news couldn't have come at a better time," says Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon.

"I still remember helping to recruit this event to the Queen City more than a decade ago as Mayor Pro Tem so being able to keep it here for six more years is a testament to the depth of our relationship with the CIAA. This economic generator, that attracts tens of thousands of visitors here and infuses millions of dollars into our local economy, will pay dividends for years to come."

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