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HRM Fighting to Keep Canadian Men's Basketball Final
(Thursday, March 14/2002)-- Local businesses and service providers stand to lose more than $7.5 million in a single weekend if Halifax is unsuccessful in keeping the annual CIS Men's "Final 8" basketball tournament here, Councillor Brian Warshick said today.
Councillor Warshick urged HRM residents, the local business community and sponsors and fans of the Canadian Inter-University Sport (CIS) tournament to support Halifax in its bid to host the soon to-be- expanded championship event in the years 2004 and 2005.
The District 6 (Westphal-Waverley Road) Councillor said Halifax has hosted the annual tournament for the past 19 years, placing its own particular brand on the event that has made it such a huge success.
"It's not just the economic spin-off that we would lose. Halifax is "home" to the championship event, and the fans and volunteers who have supported the tournament during the past two decades deserve the support of our community in keeping the Men's Final 8 here, " he said.
The CIS tournament will be expanded to 10 teams from the current eight in 2004. The Atlantic University Sport organization has the rights to host the Men's Final 8 through to 2003, but Halifax will be competing with a number of other communities across the country for rights to host the tournament in the years 2004 and 2005. Bid proposals must be in by May 1st; presentations will be made in June; and a decision will be rendered by July 31st.
Councillor Warshick won unanimous support from Halifax Regional Council last week on a motion to support the Atlantic University Sport's bid to continue hosting the tournament. Mayor Peter Kelly, on behalf of Council, has written a letter of support, which will accompany the bid documents. If necessary, Council has agreed to send a representative from the Mayor's Office or Council to the bid presentation process.
Research conducted by the World Trade and Convention Centre show that the Men's Final 8 generates more than $6 million in direct expenditures in the community, and an additional $1.5 indirectly. HRM is one of the financial sponsors of the event.
There were more than 40,000 attendees at the weekend event last season, and more than 700 hotel room nights were booked for players from the participating teams. There are hundreds more, because this does not include figures for out-of-town fans.
"With the support of our community, we want to see that this tournament remains a Halifax event. Its good for business at this time of year, and I'm sure it generates a tremendous repeat-visit factor for tourism," Councillor Warshick said.
Councillor Brian Warshick