Villanova Was Upset, But Buffalo Tourism Officials Aren't

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament were a slam dunk, drawing visitors from across the country. As far as an economic impact, those final numbers won't be available until April, when Visit Buffalo Niagara officials are able to look at the hotel occupancy and hotel tax numbers, but they anticipate the economic impact will far exceed $8 million in revenue from people staying and eating in area hotels and restaurants.

The snow we got in the days leading up to the games didn't seem to deter too many fans. Officials say it may have slowed the crowd initially but the arena was full for the games.

Tourism officials say these events and the exposure help Buffalo get more national and international events.

"People are really starting to take notice of Buffalo, even just out of the sports world where they're seeing what's taking place here, the true transformation that's happening," said Patrick Kaler, the Visit Buffalo Niagara President and CEO. "People are excited about it, and they're curious about it.

"When we're at these different trade shows, they're curious and they say, tell me more about what's taking place in Buffalo and how can I fit that into my program or my event."

Visit Buffalo Niagara Officials say they will find out by May what years the NCAA men's tournament will return. They're also hoping to host the women's NCAA basketball Final Four, and working to get the NCAA Frozen Four back in the area in the next couple years.

Events already on the calendar for this year include the World Juniors Hockey Championships and the Gaelic Games World Competition.

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