Visit Baltimore and the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA®) Announces the Basketball Tournament is Staying Until 2026

Visit Baltimore and the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA®) Announces the Basketball Tournament is Staying Until 2026




Baltimore, MD (June 8, 2023) – Mayor Brandon M. Scott, Visit Baltimore, the State of Maryland, and the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA®), the nation’s oldest historically Black athletic conference, announced today that the Men’s and Women’s Basketball tournament will extend its run in Baltimore for 2026 following a successful tournament run in Baltimore in 2023, which took place from February 21-26 at the newly renovated CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore.


“We are proud that the CIAA Tournament will call Baltimore home for the next three years. The tournament belongs in Charm City,” said Maryland Governor Wes Moore. “In order for this to be Maryland’s decade, it needs to be Baltimore’s time. Each year, this tournament is our opportunity to showcase what our state has to offer, bring people to Maryland, and drive economic growth.”


“The CIAA has embraced ‘Charm City’ as our tournament home over the past two years. Each year, we have attracted new fans with a focus to increase attendance to our championship basketball games, Fan Fest, and other ancillary CIAA events,” said Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams. “Baltimore is a cultural destination that aligns perfectly for our alumni and fans in February, one of my favorite months to celebrate sports and culture. We are proud to partner with Visit Baltimore and the entire community to harness the legacy of the CIAA while creating new memories to make a lasting impact that we can see, feel and celebrate. We look forward to another exciting CIAA Basketball Tournament in 2024 and extending through 2026.”


The 2023 tournament had approximately 38,450 fans in attendance at the CFG Bank Arena over 22 basketball games during its 5-day run in Baltimore, exceeding 2022’s attendance by 5.6 percent. In total, there were 63,844 individuals based on initial turnstile numbers including media, student athletes, coaches, staff and other individuals who entered the arena during tournament week with a paid ticket as well as folks who entered without a paid ticket.


“As a city with deep roots in the sport of basketball, it is so fitting for the world-class CIAA Tournament to stay right here in Baltimore. This has been an incredible opportunity to highlight some of the best HBCUs in the country that we have here in the State of Maryland: Morgan State University, Coppin State University, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and of course our CIAA member institution Bowie State University,” said Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “For the past two years, the tournament has been nothing short of a slam dunk for our residents, our budding small business community, our die-hard basketball fans and all spectators and visitors alike. We look forward to making the games bigger and better in the coming years, while showcase the best of Baltimore.”


The CIAA Tournament generated a total economic impact of $29.6 million, which supported 1,504 part-time and full-time jobs and generated $2.5 million in state and local taxes. This financial success was made possible by the State of Maryland, Baltimore City and the Local Organizing Committee.


In addition to total economic impact, the tournament generated $17.7 million in participant and spectator off-site spending, with $5.4 million spent in the food and beverage sector, $4 million in lodging, $3.4 million in entertainment and attractions, $3.2 million in retail spending, and $1.7 million in transportation and local rideshare companies.


“I am grateful for the twelve presidents’ confidence in Baltimore to continue hosting the tournament through 2026,” said Al Hutchinson, president and CEO of Visit Baltimore. “The CIAA is an excellent example of what major events and conventions are doing for our city’s tourism recovery in terms of economic impact, and we are absolutely thrilled to welcome them to Baltimore for an additional year.”


Throughout the tournament planning process, the Baltimore Sports Tourism Development Council engaged 118 minority-owned businesses to be a part of the tournament which had a direct economic benefit of $1,249,028 to those businesses.


In addition to the total economic impact that the event contributed to area hotels, restaurants and attractions, the City of Baltimore, State of Maryland, Visit Baltimore and the Local Host Committee made a $1.2 Million donation to the CIAA General Scholarship Fund that supports the conference’s 12 member institutions, made up of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and its students. This generous donation was made possible by the local businesses that make up the Local Host Committee, along with corporate contributions from partners including Whiting Turner, Bank of America, Under Armor, CareFirst, Verizon, Wells Fargo, Tom Joyner Foundation, BGE, BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, the Baltimore Orioles, the Baltimore Ravens, Horseshoe Casino, Fraport USA, DTLR, T.Rowe Price and many others.


“The success of the tournament proves that Baltimore is the perfect CIAA host city, celebrating its proud African American history in partnership with the oldest African American athletic conference,” said Aminta Breaux, Bowie State University president and chair of the CIAA board of Directors. “As president of the host institution for the tournament, I’d like to thank all of the local businesses who welcomed tournament guests to the city, and the many fans and supporters who came out to support our student-athletes from the 12 member institutions of the CIAA.”


Over 340 volunteers provided wayfinding support and information for the 26 events and 22 basketball games that took place during the tournament at locations including BWI Airport, Penn Station and hotels in the tournament footprint.


Visit Baltimore partnered with Tourism Economics, an Oxford economics company and leader in global forecasting and quantitative analysis to create a full economic impact report following this year’s CIAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball tournament.


“We applaud the CIAA, Visit Baltimore and the Local Host & Organizing Committees for their vision and strategic proficiency in bringing this partnership to fruition. These organizations and their leaders have been intentional and consistent in supporting Black-Owned businesses, as well as a myriad of opportunities for Baltimore’s youth to learn, grow and contribute.


The CIAA tournament provides a huge economic impact to our community, and we are proud to be a part of this effort. The best is yet to come!” said Kobi Little, President of the NAACP-Baltimore City Branch and Tiffany Majors-Greater President & CEO of the Baltimore Urban League.


The CIAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament will return to Baltimore from February 26-March 3, 2024. For more information on next year’s event and hotel lodging information, visit


About the CIAA

Founded in 1912, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) is the first, and longest running, African American athletic conference in the U.S. and one of the most recognized conferences in Division II. The CIAA conducts 14 championships attended by more than 150,000 fans from around the country. In 2020, the conference celebrated the special 75th anniversary of its Championship Basketball Tournament – an event that has become a must-see in the African American community. The Basketball Tournament has been honored as a 2019 Champion of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism by Sports Destination Management, the leading publication with the largest circulation of sports event planners and tournament directors in the sports tourism market, for both 2018 and 2019. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, the CIAA is governed by the Presidents and Chancellors of its 12 member-institutions: Bowie State University, Claflin University, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, Johnson C. Smith University, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, Livingstone College, Saint Augustine’s University, Shaw University, Virginia State University, Virginia Union University, and Winston-Salem State University. Chowan University is an associate member in football and women’s bowling. For more information on the CIAA, visit, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.


About Visit Baltimore

Visit Baltimore is the official sales and marketing arm for the City of Baltimore. The 501(c)(6) non-profit organization generates economic benefits for stakeholders through the attraction of convention, group and leisure visitors. In 2022, 26.7 million people visited Baltimore for overnight and day trips spending a total of $3.7 billion to Baltimore’s economy. For more information, please visit

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