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NCAA DIII Women’s Basketball Championship Coming to Grand Rapids

18 Mar, 2015


First for Area, Championship Expected to Generate $625,000 in Economic Impact, 500 Hotel Room Nights as First of Four NCAA Tourneys in Region in 2015

Tickets are on sale now for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) DIII Women’s Basketball Championship coming to Grand Rapids for the first time, March 20-21 at Calvin College’s Van Noord Arena, 3195 Knight Way SE in Grand Rapids. The competition will showcase the top four women’s NCAA DIII basketball teams – which may include West Michigan’s Calvin College and Hope College who are among 16 teams advancing to the third round in the finals for a spot in the 2015 championship.

 “This is an exciting championship to host in Grand Rapids for the first time,” said Mike Guswiler, president of the West Michigan Sports Commission who submitted the winning bid with co-host Calvin College. “Not only is it a chance to see top-ranked women’s basketball players at one of our premier sporting venues, but also hopefully some of our own West Michigan student-athletes.”

The NCAA DIII Women’s Basketball Championship brings together the top four female basketball teams from DIII colleges and universities to the two-day tournament. Attendees are projected to book 500 hotel room nights, with an estimated economic impact of $625,000. That impact will be repeated when the event returns to Calvin College in March 2017.

 “We’re thrilled to host the first national championship at Calvin College’s beautiful Van Noord Arena,” said Calvin College Director of Athletics Nancy Meyer. “Our stunning facility adds to the championship feel that our nationally-ranked student-athletes already have been enjoying – and now we get to share that experience with other leading national teams.”  

Constructed in 2009, the 4,500-seat Van Noord Arena not only will play host to the NCAA DIII Women’s Basketball Championship, it also hosted the first and second rounds of the finals March 6-7, where Calvin College leveraged its home-court advantage to win the two rounds. It will next host the third round March 13 where Calvin plays University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.  The arena is home to the Calvin Knights basketball and volleyball teams, featuring five team locker rooms, two visiting team locker rooms, a fitness classroom and fitness center, multiple conference rooms, a hospitality suite, and a state-of-the-art athletic training center.

DIII Women’s Basketball First in Series of 2015 NCAA Tournaments: The NCAA DIII Women’s Basketball Championship is the first of four NCAA tournaments hosted in Grand Rapids in 2015 that the West Michigan Sports Commission won in a multi-year, multi-sport bid process. Also this year is the NCAA DII Women’s Golf Championships May 19-23, NCAA DII Outdoor Track & Field Championships May 21-23 (hosted in 2014 and again in 2016), and the DIII Women’s Volleyball National Championships November 20-22 and again in 2017. The total estimated economic impact of these NCAA sporting events for 2015 is $3.72 million with 4,870 room nights booked – with a cumulative estimated impact of $8.83 million and 13,240 hotel room nights booked when tallying all hosting years.

“The NCAA events are a win-win all around for our region – they not only attract some of the top collegiate athletes to our backyard for exciting sports tournaments, but they directly support our local economy by bringing teams and their travel parties to stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and patronize our stores,” said Guswiler.

Information on all NCAA Championships coming to Grand Rapids is at GRChampionshipCity.com

Ticket and Volunteer Information: Tickets for the NCAA DIII Women’s Basketball Championship can be purchased online at calvin.edu/offices-services/box-office/, by phone at (616) 526-6282 or in person at the Calvin College Box Office, 3201 Burton St. SE, Grand Rapids. Single-day tournament tickets can be purchased for $10 for students (ID required) and $12 for adults. A two-day pass with access Friday and Saturday is $15 for students and $20 for adults, and a family four-pack is $40 for four tickets.  Group tickets also are available for groups of 10 or more at $8 apiece by calling the box office.

In addition to being a spectator, basketball enthusiasts are encouraged to volunteer for the event. Volunteers are needed for four-hour shifts in areas ranging from ticket sales, to security, to hospitality. Volunteers not only will be treated to a free tee-shirt and meal, but also free entry to the game on the day of their shift. Visit the 2015 Women’s Basketball tab at GRChampionshipCity.com and click the blue “Volunteer” box on the bottom right corner to register.

For other championship-related and Grand Rapids visitor information, please visit the NCAA DIII Women’s Basketball Championship tab at GRChampionshipCity.com

About the West Michigan Sports Commission: The West Michigan Sports Commission, a non-profit 501 (c) (3), works to identify, secure and host a diverse level of youth and amateur sporting events to make a positive impact on the economy and quality of life in the region. Since its inception in 2007, the WMSC has booked 383 sporting events and tournaments that attracted 550,000 athletes and visitors, generating almost $150 million in direct visitor spending. For more information, visit westmisports.com and Facebook.com/WestMichiganSportsCommission and follow @WestMiSports.

About NCAA DIII: More than 180,000 student-athletes at 450 institutions make up Division III, the largest NCAA division both in number of participants and schools. The Division III experience offers participation in a competitive athletic environment that pushes student-athletes to excel on the field and build upon their potential by tackling new challenges across campus. Visit ncaa.org/d3 for more information.

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