Sports World Turns To Dayton For NCAA Games

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University of Dayton Arena is once again hosting NCAA tournament games, including Ohio State University's game against Iona on Friday.(Photo: Flickr)
University of Dayton Arena is once again hosting NCAA tournament games, including Ohio State University's game against Iona on Friday.(Photo: Flickr)

The First Four games of the NCAA Basketball Tournament began Tuesday night at the University of Dayton Arena. The games opened with less fanfare than they did a year ago – no visiting Presidents or Prime Ministers, and no big street party kickoff – but there’s still plenty of excitement surrounding the event.

This year’s First Four event has been sold out since last October, and what the event still has this year is a big economic payoff for the city of Dayton. Matthew Ferrel is part of this year’s organizing committee.

“Yea, last year the economic impact to the Dayton region was somewhere in the neighborhood of four to $5 million,” Ferrel says.

“That was with four games. This year we have ten nationally televised games, tens and tens of thousands of visitors to the Dayton region, the economic impact is estimated to be in the neighborhood of eight to $12 million.”

As of now, the First Four Tournament games will remain in Dayton through 2015, but The University of Dayton is hoping the NCAA will sign on for another 10 years.

Ferrel believes the city has earned it.

“I think Dayton has obviously proven, the UD staff has proven year in and year out, 28 years now they’ve been a host of the NCAA tournament, a hundred and one games will have been hosted after this week… They’ve proven that they are as good as anybody in the country at running an event with the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, and I think our community has shown, you know, it’s sincere about their role as the long term host for the kick-off of March Madness.”

With the tournament underway, 64 teams will vie for the national championship title. On Wednesday, the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds will take on the James Madison Dukes—and the La Salle Explorers go up against the Boise State Broncos.

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