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2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament 1st & 2nd Rounds in Raleigh Generates $4.6 Million in Direct Visitor Spending


The 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship 1st & 2nd Rounds, hosted by North Carolina State University and held at Raleigh, N.C.'s PNC Arena from March 17-19, provided a major boost to the local economy. The event generated an estimated $4.6 million in direct visitor spending, as 19,676 visitors poured into the region for a weekend of college hoops.

This economic report was compiled by the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance (GRSA), a division of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, using an economic impact formula approved by the National Association of Sports Commissions. The GRSA uses a conservative formula, one that reflects visitor spending only and does not include a multiplier or local spending.

Total attendance for the three sessions at PNC Arena was 53,447, including an estimated 25,890 unique attendees (the number of individuals who attended at least one session). A zip code study by the GRSA showed that 76 percent of ticket-buyers were from outside of the Triangle region. Of all ticket-buyers, the zip code study revealed that 51 percent were from out of state, 25 percent were from N.C. but not Wake County, and 24 percent were local. Visiting fans accounted for 9,682 total hotel room-nights.

The weekly Smith Travel Research Report indicated that hotel occupancy rates during the NCAA Tournament dates in Raleigh (March 15-19) were 6.5 percent higher than the same dates from the previous year.

"It's no surprise that the 2016 NCAA Basketball Tournament was a tremendous success for the Raleigh region," said Scott Dupree, Executive Director of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance and Chair of Raleigh's NCAA Local Organizing Committee. "The NCAA tournament has a long track record of doing exceptionally well in this market. And it's not just the economic impact. It's the enormous amount of positive media exposure and branding for this area, for N.C. State as the official host and for PNC Arena.

"There's also the quality of life component for our local residents. It's as an exciting, popular event. I consider ‘March Madness' to be the second biggest sports spectacle in the U.S., behind only the Super Bowl. And through the years I've never had one person complain to me about Raleigh hosting NCAA basketball. It's a win-win all the way around."

"The NCAA men's basketball tournament is a perfect fit for Raleigh, and I believe Raleigh is a perfect fit for the NCAA," Dupree said. "N.C. State, as always, does a superb job as host, PNC Arena is tailor-made for this event, and our community knows how to roll out the red carpet for the visiting teams, fans and media."

Dupree thanked the Centennial Authority, Gale Force Sports and Entertainment, the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance and the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce for their role in supporting North Carolina State University and Raleigh's NCAA Local Organizing Committee.

NOTE: North Carolina State University, PNC Arena and Raleigh have hosted the NCAA men's basketball championship four times since the building opened in 1999. Those years were 2004, 2008, 2014 and 2016. The four years in Raleigh have combined for $16.2 million in direct visitor spending and 37,281 hotel room-nights.

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