‘Big’ basketball tournament headed to Charlotte in 2021

Updated: Nov. 19, 2019 at 5:45 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Big South conference is bringing its basketball tournaments to Charlotte starting in 2021.

This will come one year after the final CIAA tournament in Charlotte. The city lost that event bid for 2021-23 to Baltimore earlier in 2019.

Tuesday, the Big South conference, which is headquartered in Charlotte, announced it would be bringing its tournaments to Charlotte from 2021 to 2023, at a press conference at Bojangles Coliseum.

“We want to make this more than just a couple basketball tournaments,” Winthrop University President Dr. Daniel Mahony said. “We want to do a lot to really take advantage of everything here in Charlotte for our fans and alumni and make this a huge event that will last an entire week for us.”

Hotels, entertainment, leadership and renovations to Bojangles Coliseum were all factors cited by Big South officials.

“This is going to be a citywide event,” Charlotte city council member Tariq Bokhari said. “We’re going to find ways to energize and engage our community to make this an entire experience.”

Some people in Charlotte are hoping this conference will fill the hole the CIAA tournament leaves behind. In 2018 alone, that event had a more than $50 million economic impact on the city. It brought $12 million in labor wages, and more than 400 jobs.

“We have a great relationship with the other tournament,” Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority President Tom Murray said. “And we have one more year, our teams are working really hard for 2020, that’s what we’re working on.”

This, as they work on planning for the Big South as well now, happening one year later.

“It’s great to be in Charlotte,” Big South Commissioner Kyle Kallander said. “We’re excited for the madness to begin.”

The Big South officials have been scouting for tournament spots since spring 2018. Charlotte beat out cities including Winston-Salem and Hampton, Virginia.

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