NCAA tournament basketball games pumped $10.85 million into Dayton

NCAA basketball teams and fans shot a record $10.85 million into the local economy when they filled the University of Dayton Arena for the first rounds of the NCAA Division I men’s tournament.

The economic impact was even more than expected, according to estimates from the Dayton/Montgomery County Convention & Visitors Bureau that were announced today by the University of Dayton. It was the first time in history that a single site hosted 10 games in a week, according to UD.

“That was a tremendous week, a steady week, of visitors in our community leaving their money behind,” said Jacquelyn Powell, visitors bureau president. “This receives such national attention. The focus was on Dayton.”

The estimate takes into account dollars that are spent in the community on everything from hotel stays, to dining in restaurants, to airport tickets and purchases in retail shops, Powell said.

UD has now hosted 101 tournament games, more than any other venue, the university announced.

In 2012, when UD hosted just the First Four, it had an economic impact of about $4.5 million. This year’s increased economic impact was due to UD hosting not just the First Four, but the second and third rounds, as well.

The university will also host the First Four in 2014 and 2015.

“We have not only shown we are a great city for basketball, but we are a great city, period, with an incredible infrastructure for rolling out the red carpet for national events,” Tim Wabler, UD vice president and director of athletics, said in the news release.

“We received only positive feedback from the participating institutions and guests about the experience they had while in Dayton,” said Tim O’Connell, University of Dayton assistant vice president of athletics and executive director of University of Dayton Arena. “This event put the region in the national spotlight for a week. It was imperative we shined. There is nothing to suggest that did not occur. It showed the nation what we already know, Dayton is a great place to be.”

UD noted how participating institutions and guests are not the only ones glowing about their March Madness experience in Dayton.

“When it comes to picking hosts for its basketball tournament, the NCAA loves Dayton like no other,” USA Today columnist Mike Lopresti wrote. “One reason for the attraction might be public support at the gate. When Dayton hosted the play-in game with such low wattage matchups as Siena-Alcorn State and Monmouth-Hampton, the crowd was still never below 7,218.”

Sports Illustrated writer Andy Glockner and CBSSports.com writer Jeff Borzello concurred. Part of a Glockner tweet during the third round of the tournament in Dayton read: “Good atmosphere in here. Building is full (what else is new in Dayton).” Borzello tweeted: “I always knew Dayton would be the epicenter of college basketball.”

Staff Writer David Jablonski contributed to this report.

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