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NCAA Tournament expected to bring flood of visitors, boost to local economy

Posted March 15

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— No matter who takes home the men’s NCAA Tournament title, one thing is for sure—the city of Raleigh expects to be a big winner.

This year marks the fourth time PNC Arena has hosted games in the tournament. Raleigh last hosted the tournament in 2014 and, according to city officials, it was a big success for the local economy.

Hotels, restaurants and stores are once again hoping for a windfall from the thousands of visitors flooding into the Triangle.

The tournament will be in town from March 17 to March 19 and will welcome Butler University, Hampton University, Providence College, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Southern California, Texas Tech, the University of Virginia and the winner of Florida Gulf Coast and Fairleigh Dickinson.

The Hampton University team is staying in a new hotel in Brier Creek for the duration of its stay in Raleigh.

“It’s amazing; it’s such a great support system these players have,” said Brier Creek Courtyard Marriot General Manager, Brandi Myers. “This is a once in a lifetime event for some of them.”

The hotel is hosting the team, its band and cheerleaders, and its fans, which means selling about 50 rooms per night.

The Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance worked with North Carolina State University to bring the tournament to PNC Arena this year.

“This is a major event in terms of economic development,” said Scott Dupree, Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance executive director.

Dupree said the tournament brought in $4.2 million in 2014, including 10,000 booked hotel rooms and 17,000 out-of-market visitors.

Backyard Bistro—located across the street from PNC Arena—expects to triple its business in the next few days. The restaurant is stocking up on food and alcohol, and creating an outdoor area in the parking lot for overflow crowds.

“Anytime there’s a draw across the street, it brings additional people here,” said Lance Wheeler of Backyard Bistro. “Whether it be locals, it’s a lot of visitors.”

Texas Tech and Butler will face off in the first game of the Raleigh regional, a 12:40 p.m. tip-off on Thursday.

“For Raleigh to host this multiple time is a great accomplishment,” Myers said. “It’s exciting to host this event.”


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