First Four expected to have $4M impact

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The First Four tournament is expected to pump four million dollars into the local economy one week from Tuesday.

The NCAA tournament has tipped off for 16 consecutive years at UD Arena. It’s been home to NCAA events since 2001 and has played host to more than 100 tournament games.

“That’s more than any other building in the country including Madison Square Garden,” boasted Scott DeBolt, Senior Associate Director Athletics and First Four Tournament Manager.

Crews began getting the arena ready Tuesday to welcome thousands of fans and big names to Dayton.

“When VCU made their run from the First Four to the Final Four, then you see a team like LaSalle makes the run from the First Four to the Sweet Sixteen — These teams are getting NCAA tournament game experience right here at UD Arena,” said Eric Farrell with the First Four Big Hoopla.

The sellout not only draws fans but also shines a spotlight on the school.

“Obviously the coverage that we not only get locally here and regionally, but nationally and internationally by hosting this event is huge for the university,” said DeBolt.

With more than 12,000 turning out to see the games in Dayton and more than four million dollars pumped into the economy last year, the numbers are expected to repeat again this year.

“This is a basketball arena. It’s a basketball city. It’s a basketball region and we’ve proven ourselves over the years with the crowds,” said DeBolt.

“This is where the road to the Final Four starts. It starts right here in Dayton, Ohio, and so you have a tournament feel right here to kind of kick it off,” said Farrell.

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