By Dedrick Russell
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The recession has hit the CIAA Basketball tournament. Instead of seven days worth of activities, the tournament has shrunk down to five eventful days.
"We dropped a banquet, we're not going to be in the arena as long," said CIAA Commissioner Leon Kerry.
While the CIAA is adjusting to the failing economy, fans are not. The organization reports about 93 percent of the people who attended last year's tournament have already booked hotel rooms and purchased their ticket.
Surprisingly, corporate sponsors have not backed out either. It ain't cheap to be a CIAA sponsor.
Representatives from Ford, Food Lion and Nationwide Insurance said say they believe it is profitable to invest in the tournament despite tough times.
"We believe it's a right place to be then, and it's still an important partnership to have", said Nationwide Insurance Representative John Aman. "The audience of the CIAA is one Nationwide is interested in."
"I'm fortunate to have sponsors in place, fortunate," Kerry said.
So far, there has been no drop in the number of merchants who want to set up shop during the week.
Last year, more than $30 million was pumped into the local economy. While many hope history will repeat itself, organizers are already seeing signs that will happen.
The CIAA is not all about basketball, it also provides college scholarships for those in need.
The tournament raised about $2 million last year. Organizers are hoping it will bring in more money this year.
The 64th CIAA tournament tips off February 24th through the 28th at the Time Warner Cable Arena.