It's CIAA 2011 time (the official press conference)

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Each year the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Basketball tournament seems to get bigger and bigger. The 2011 edition of the CIAA is proving to do the same thing. And we're not talking parties here. We're talking money.  According to the Charlotte Regional Visitor's Authority research, the tournament accounted for direct spending of more than $24 million and a total economic impact of more than $37 million dollars over the one-week period in 2010.

CIAA commissioner Leon Kerry said ticket sales have already topped $2 million for the basketball tournament, which runs from Feb. 28 to March 5 this year.

This is the 66th CIAA Tournament and the 99th year since the league has been founded.

"We look forward to returning to Charlotte for our sixth consecutive CIAA Tournament,” said  Kerry.  “We've welcomed back Lincoln and Winston Salem State University to the CIAA, signed Toyota as our new automotive partner and continued living up to our reputation of providing our fans with an action-packed week of great basketball and fun-filled activities and events.  Our fan’s loyalty is unquestionable. Their constant support of the conference and our tournament shows their passion for the CIAA, which is important as we prepare for the 100th anniversary of the CIAA in 2012.”

TV One returns as a television partner for the CIAA, presenting the men’s quarter-finals and the semi-final rounds of the Tournament on Thursday, March 3 and Friday, March 4. ESPN U will broadcast the championship game live on March 5.

Tournament attendees will, once again, be able to see concerts for free at the Toyota Fan Experience at the Charlotte Convention Center and McDonald's Super Saturday at the Time Warner Cable Arena. The Toyota Fan Experience will feature free concerts by national recording artists Eric Benet, Donell Jones, Tank and Jagged Edge, as well as appearances by Tom Joyner, actor Idris Elba, Sister 2 Sister Magazine’s Jamie Foster Brown, the Food Lion Cooking Stage featuring B. Smith and the Yolanda Adams Morning Show, among other notables.

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