Visitor spending and attendance figures provided a slam dunk victory for Raleigh and Wake County during the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament 2nd & 3rd Rounds, hosted by N.C. State University and held at the PNC Arena. Raleigh’s version of “March Madness,” from March 21-23, generated an estimated $4.2 million in direct visitor spending, as 17,720 visitors poured into the region for a weekend of college hoops.
This economic impact information was compiled by the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance (GRSA), a division of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, using an economic impact formula approved by the National Association of Sports Commissions. The GRSA uses a conservative formula, one that reflects visitor spending only and does not include a multiplier or local spending.
“As we expected, the 2014 NCAA Basketball Tournament proved to be a tremendous event for the Raleigh area on many levels,” said Scott Dupree, executive director of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance. “Not only did the tournament create $4.2 million in visitor spending, but it also generated an enormous amount of positive media exposure and visibility for this region, for PNC Arena and for N.C. State University as the official host.”
Total attendance for the three sessions at PNC Arena was 53,172, including an estimated 24,957 unique attendees (the number of individuals who attended at least one session). A zip code study by the GRSA showed that 71 percent of ticket-buyers were from outside of the Triangle region. Of all ticket-buyers, the zip code study revealed that 59 percent were from out of state, 12 percent were from North Carolina but not the Triangle, and 29 percent were local. Those visiting fans accounted for 10,105 total hotel room nights.
The weekly Smith Travel Research Report indicated that hotel occupancy rates during the NCAA Tournament weekend in Raleigh (March 19-23) were 20.3 percent higher than the same weekend from the previous year.
“The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is a proven winner in this market,” Dupree said. “It’s a perfect fit for Raleigh, and I believe Raleigh is a perfect fit for the NCAA. N.C. State does a magnificent job hosting NCAA basketball, PNC Arena is tailor-made for this event, and our community really knows how to roll out the red carpet for the visiting teams, fans and media.”
Dupree thanked the Centennial Authority, the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Raleigh Sports Council and N.C. State University for their role in supporting Raleigh’s NCAA Local Organizing Committee.