PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — The NCAA March Madness Basketball Tournament is generating a lot of excitement in the city of Portland, and local businesses are looking forward to the activity away from the court.
According to the Oregon Sports Authority, this is the third time in seven years the NCAA tournament has come to Portland — this year, they said, money flowing in will be in the millions.
The first tournament bus rolled up at the Moda Center Wednesday with a police escort, carrying Texas Southern University from Houston.
“We plan to stay for awhile,” Texas Southern forward Malcolm Riley told KOIN 6 News.
The incoming teams will not only fill the Moda Center seats, but local hotels as well.
“Each team will be in their own separate hotel, so they’ll be in eight hotels in Portland,” Oregon Sports Authority CEO Drew Mahalic said. “What we’ve heard is the hotels are all sold out downtown, so they are sending the entourage of fans to the airport hotels.”
The total estimated economic impact for the city of Portland during March Madness: $10 million.
“That means eight teams from around the country will be coming here, spending time at our hotels, our restaurants, food service, retail stores,” Mahalic said. “Their fans and entourage will be here and it is great for our economy.”
While the players’ main focus will undoubtedly be scoring baskets while they’re in town, that doesn’t mean the teams and fans aren’t sinking money into the economy.
“I was excited to come to Portland, I was here before on business, great city, great restaurants downtown, I am enjoying that,” Dan O’Neil, an administrator from Georgetown University told KOIN 6 News.
Tickets are still available for all NCAA games in Portland.