NCAA tournament economic boon to host cities, businesses

Big Tournament

Thousands of college basketball fans have spent the past several days in the cities hosting  the first and second rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

This year marked the fifth time Columbus, Ohio has hosted the tournament, since 2004.

More 60,000 fans passed through the arena doors for the event, according to Nationwide Arena management.

Many of those fans said they were thrilled with their experience in Columbus.

“We’ve really enjoyed just kind of walking around, seeing the sights and hanging out in the Arena District,” said Kathleen McGaha, a University of North Carolina fan. “We’ve really loved everybody that we’ve come across and all the people have been so friendly. It’s been a wonderful environment.”

Business owners said the tournament has been beneficial not just for them, but also for the city.

“The last time it (the tournament) was here four years ago, it was really good numbers and we’re seeing about the same again,” said Michael Darr, the owner of The Three-Legged Mare.

While leaders with the Columbus Sports Commission said one of their goals is to attract the tournament back to the city, no plans for it to return have been finalized.

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