CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte city officials were all smiles as they inked a new contract that will keep the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association's annual tournament in Charlotte for six more years.
But it will come with a cost.
During a ceremony at the Time Warner Cable Arena where the tournament is held, city officials defended the increase in incentive payments that will go up from the current $1 million to $1.4 million with the new deal.
Mayor Dan Clodfelter said, "It is a huge economic engine. During the period of the tournament last year, it was $30 million that was spent in the city."
The incentive fees go towards scholarships that benefit the historically African American colleges and universities that are part of the association.
The Chairman of the County Commission, Trevor Fuller, said while the city of Charlotte does rake in millions of dollars during the tournament, it is more than uptown that benefits.
"It is another opportunity that we have here in Charlotte, and all of Mecklenburg County, to tell the world that we are a place that people want to come," Fuller said.
The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority negotiated the deal with the CIAA.
Most of the incentive fee money comes from the county's two hospitality taxes.
In addition, the city and county each also contributed $200,000 last year, and that figure is also likely to go up with the deal.
Under the new contract, the CIAA has also agreed to move its national headquarters here to Charlotte.