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Case Study Snapshot: CIAA

In February 2021 Visit Baltimore welcomed the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s annual men’s and women’s basketball tournament. This beloved tournament is exciting for both the athletes and attendees alike, and is expected to draw more than 140,000 visitors to Baltimore each year.

What We Did

To support the tournament’s move from Charlotte, NC, the Visit Baltimore team started the promotions early, with the “Raising the Game” pre-promotion campaign kicking off at the 2020 tournament in Charlotte with the goal of selling tickets and booking hotel rooms. This activation included:

  • Development of a visual identity, “Raising the Game, Baltimore 2021” to create excitement and energy around the tournament’s move to Baltimore.
  • A multi-platform media campaign that included: wall projections, mobile billboards throughout the tournament footprint, and other targeted digital and social placements.
  • A 10-foot by 40-foot experiential booth at Fan Fest with a DJ, duckpin bowling alley, pixilated photo booth, and branded giveaways and prizes.
  • Pop-up booths and activations in high-traffic locations throughout the tournament footprint, including the convention center lobby, Spectrum Center, two local malls, Epicentre, and the Westin Hotel lobby.
  • A suite of giveaway and VIP swag items, including high-end tote bags with decorative CIAA patches, enamel lapel pins, posters, and tee shirts.
  • Two :30 commercials showcasing the rich cultural heritage and sports legacy in Baltimore as well as the excitement and vibrancy of our downtown.
  • A Baltimore promotion toolkit for the CIAA colleges and alumni associations to use for the year leading up to the first tournament in Baltimore, including a 12-month editorial calendar with supporting copy, an image gallery, and a series of seven snackable videos covering different aspects of the tournament experience.
  • Support from a team of Baltimore ambassadors amplifying the positive narrative of our walkable tournament footprint, ease of access and affordability, and vast array or enriching tourism opportunities.

Measures of success in the coming year will be ticket sales and hotel bookings, but also keeping tabs on social conversations and anecdotal updates from CIAA, the colleges and the alumni associations.

If you’d like to learn more about why Baltimore is a standout destination for your sporting event or tournament please contact:

Christina Ghani Smith

National Sales and Sports Manager
[email protected]

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