Bringing CUSA to the Rocket City

What we did:
Event Management
The Players

In a collaborative effort, Knight Eady, Conference USA (CUSA), the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), and the Huntsville Sports Commission (HSC) worked together to kick off March with the CUSA Basketball championships in the Rocket City. This partnership aimed to elevate the tournament experience for players, fans, and the community. Leveraging Knight Eady's expertise in event management and marketing, alongside the resources and local knowledge provided by the CVB and HSC, the CUSA Basketball championships reached new heights in organization, promotion, and overall impact. Together, these entities delivered a seamless and memorable event, showcasing Huntsville as a premier destination for collegiate basketball and sports enthusiasts.

Ready for Launch

Huntsville is bursting at the seams, and with that growth comes a desire for high level sporting events in the city. After leaders at the CVB and HSC identified the need to develop a more robust Sports Tourism industry, Knight Eady helped develop and present a competitive bid to host Conference USA’s Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships. In April of 2023, the Conference announced the Rocket City as its selection to host the 2024 and 2025 tournaments, with opportunities to extend the event to 2026 and beyond.

The 2024 edition of the CUSA Basketball Championships brought nine men’s and nine women’s teams to compete for the conference’s automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament. As the CUSA continues to grow, so will the list of teams competing at the VBC Propst Arena for the coveted tickets to March Madness. Fans of the event were treated to sixteen games in five days, with two champions being crowned on Saturday evening.

A Combined Effort

Planning began a year in advance, with a combined effort from Knight Eady, the CVB and HSC. As we are no strangers to college basketball, Huntsville, or the mixture of the two, Knight Eady leaned on its years of experience with the RKT CTY Classic, the CM Newton Classic, and the First & Second Rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Our team worked to produce a tournament worthy of the excitement and passion that comes with March, and provided an elite championship environment for the student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and fans.

Experience is a huge part of what KE offers any college basketball event. From game management and in-game production, to cheer and band logistics and administration hospitality, the constant buzz in the locker room hallways and back of house areas rivaled the on-court action at Propst Arena. Our team worked with CUSA to orchestrate a seamless experience for those on-site to allow them to focus on their one and only goal of winning a championship in Huntsville.

The Final Buzzer

City leaders remarked on the success of the week, which opened the eyes of many basketball fans to what Huntsville has to offer.

“The Conference USA Basketball Championships brought a caliber of tournament play the Rocket City hadn’t experienced  before and set the bar for future championship tournaments,” said Mark Russell, Executive Director of HSC. “We had a BLAST and look forward to packing out Propst Arena for the 2025 CUSA Basketball Championships!”

With the addition of Kennesaw State in 2025 and the University of Delaware in 2026, the conference is continuing to grow and is excited to be back in Huntsville for its Championships for next year.

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