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Local businesses hope CAA tournament means big win for bottom line

Local businesses hope CAA tournament means big win for bottom line.jpg

With the CAA basketball tournament tipping off this weekend, local businesses are looking to score big with basketball fans who traveled with their favorite teams to the Lowcountry.

At the Fan Zone across the street from the North Charleston Coliseum, Luke Flood has packed his shelves and racks with CAA team gear.

"Any time there is a sporting event, athletes their family and friends come and see the game, they are fans of sport, no-brainer they come to see us," Flood said.

For the CAA tournament, Flood has added extra staff and brought in a lot more merchandise in anticipation of the big crowds. But Flood says he's not the only one benefitting from the weekend of college basketball.

"Everyone benefits -- restaurants, bars, it's a big economic boost for the entire area," he said.

While businesses are hoping to cash in, so is the CAA.

Commissioner Joe D'Antonio says all across the country conference tournaments are struggling when it comes to attendance. So the CAA picked the destination city of Charleston for a three-year deal.

He hopes fans will be drawn to the tournament because they vacation in the Holy City and visit the surrounding areas as well.

"Anytime we have a conference tournament we want to try and find a destination spot draw people," he said.

D'Antonio didn't have early ticket sales numbers heading into the first day of tournament play, but he says the Coliseum has room for more than 11,000 fans.

Those are the same people Flood is hoping to lure into his store, and he's on a marketing blitz. On Friday night, he even offered free tickets to Saturday's games for the first people to visit his store and mention they saw him on ABC News 4.

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