The nation’s first African-American athletic conference, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, has selected Baltimore as the official site of the 2021-2023 CIAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament. The event gives Visit Baltimore President and CEO Al Hutchinson a chance to showcase the city to visitors and student-athletes who know little about Charm City.
Connect recently caught up with Hutchinson to chat about Baltimore’s legacy as a sports town and the selection for the city as the first new location for the CIAA Basketball Tournament since 2005.
What makes Baltimore an ideal setting for a basketball tournament?
Baltimore has a long and storied basketball history. Charm City molded superstars like Carmelo Anthony, Keith Booth, Michael Lloyd, Skip Wise, Sam Cassell, Muggsy Bogues and so many other basketball greats. Baltimore boasts two of the most sophisticated and frequently emulated modern, professional stadiums in the country: Oriole Park at Camden Yards and the Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium, both nestled in the heart of downtown. Our condensed city footprint with the convention center and Royal Farms Arena within two blocks of one another with 3,000 hotel rooms within a three-block radius makes the ideal setting for this tournament.
What are some of Baltimore’s facilities and attractions that athletes and fans should explore?
In Baltimore, the story of the African-American experience comes alive and we encourage student-athletes and fans to take advantage of this opportunity to explore. Significant Baltimore black history and cultural sites include Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park and the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum. Fans can also taste award-winning food from Baltimore’s African American-owned restaurants and chefs. In fact, attendees can check out Ida B’s Table while they’re in town, which is within walking distance of the arena and the brainchild of Food Network ‘Chopped’ winner Chef David Thomas.