CLEVELAND (April 6, 2015) – While either Duke or Wisconsin will be crowned the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball National Champion tonight at the Final Four in Indianapolis, the Northeast Ohio economy is also a winner of March Madness. The NCAA Men’s Division I Midwest Regional at Quicken Loans Arena infused an estimated $10 million into the local economy, the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission announced today. The event was brought to Cleveland by a partnership between the Sports Commission, Mid-American Conference, Quicken Loans Arena and Cleveland State University.
“While Kentucky, Notre Dame, West Virginia and Wichita State were showcasing college basketball at the highest level inside The Q; fans, alumni and supporters of the schools were generating significant spending in our local economy,” said Jeff Pacini, Greater Cleveland Sports Commission Vice President of Business Development. “Furthermore, the Midwest Regional provided another opportunity for thousands of travelers to experience everything that makes Cleveland great. There is no doubt that the event was a huge success on and off the court.”
Economic activity is an estimate of the level of travel spending created by an event. Travel spending includes money spent by event visitors on hotels and lodging, restaurants, attractions and any other industry. A formula created and managed by the National Association of Sports Commissions is used to estimate the final economic activity number.
Two key factors contributed to the large economic impact of the event. First, the campuses of three of the four competing schools (Kentucky, Notre Dame and West Virginia) are located within 350 miles of Cleveland, allowing for larger contingents of fans to travel for the event. Second, all four schools playing in Cleveland have extremely loyal fan bases that traveled to Cleveland in higher than expected numbers.
“The NCAA tournament was fantastic for our community! The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame attendance was over twice what we’d typically have on a March weekend,” said Todd Mesek, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Vice President of Marketing and Communications. “It demonstrates the power of the tourism industry in Northeastern Ohio. We have one-of-a-kind attractions, a strong infrastructure of hotels, restaurants, venues and services. Together, these things make Cleveland a great host of major events like the NCAA Midwest Regional, which in turn add to the interest in Cleveland as a destination.”
Additionally, the television broadcast of the Midwest Regional placed Cleveland in the national spotlight. The TBS broadcast of the Midwest Regional Championship between Kentucky and Notre Dame averaged 14.7 million viewers nationwide. At the time, the game was the most-viewed college basketball game in cable television history and the most-viewed program in TBS history.
The Midwest Regional was the 12th NCAA national championship event hosted by the Sports Commission in the past nine years. These events have totaled over $46 million in regional economic activity. Previous NCAA events include the 2007 Women’s Final Four and 2011 Division I Men’s Basketball Second and Third Rounds. The Sports Commission and the Mid-American Conference will also host the 2018 Division I Wrestling National Championships at Quicken Loans Arena – an event expected to bring $15 million in economic activity.