Dayton, Ohio – Almost $5 million, that’s how much money Dayton is projected to lose from no longer hosting the NCAA First Four Tournament.
The NCAA First Four basketball tournament brings in $4.6 million to the greater Dayton area each year. After being held in Dayton for the last 20 years, moving the tournament to Indianapolis this year will further damage Dayton’s economy, that is currently in a recession from the ongoing pandemic.
“There’s no doubt there will be an economic hit,” said Neil Sullivan, with UD Arena. “The hotels, the restaurants, the travel, the teams that come in, it’s a big part of what we do and a big reason the community is behind us.”
The cancelation follows other large events originally scheduled for 20-21 that are no longer, like Winter Guard International. President and CEO of the Dayton Convention and Visitors Bureau, Jacquelyn Powell, said hundreds of thousands of dollars have been lost this year.
“It has a tremendous impact and again with the COVID crisis, our hotels have not been filling, our restaurants have not been filling,” said Powell.
While 2020’s economic struggles will more than likely carry over to 2021, Powell said a positive is that the NCAA is still slated to use UD Arena in 2022 through 2026.
“It’s much more than a University of Dayton event, it’s a regional event that supports local businesses, hotels, the partners that we have,” said Sullivan.
Under Governor DeWine’s state order, Powell added there can still be gatherings of 300 or less when following specific COVID-19 guidelines. The Visitors Bureau is trying to remain optimistic in hopes that the pandemic ends sooner than later.
“We are still working very hard in our organization to rebook events that had to cancel and to look at new business for the future,” said Powell.