This is the first time ever the state girls high school basketball tournament will be held in Fort Wayne. The Fort Wayne visitor's bureau worked hard to bring the tournament home. They say it will benefit local businesses.
The Fort Wayne visitor's bureau expects an additional 20,000 people in Fort Wayne this weekend. That means more people to stay in hotels and eat at restaurants.
Dan O'Connell, the President of the Fort Wayne Convention and Visitors Bureau, says “We expect 80% of the sales to be in the North side of the city around the restaurants as people eat before or after their games. Do some shopping at the mall or stay in our hotels. This is what tourism is all about, getting people into the city to spend money.”
Not everyone will be from out of town. Three hometown teams, Bishop Luers, Canterbury and Concordia have all made it to the state championship.
O’Connell says “As a visitors bureau it’s a double edge sword. We like them all to be visitors.” Even so, $400,000 to $500,000 will be spent by visitors this weekend.
Friday night the Visitors Bureau is hosting Fan Fest at Spiece Field house. Fan Fest is a free pep rally type event. Anne Davis, the Executive Director of Spiece Fitness, says this could boost their business.
The tournament will run through the weekend. The coliseum expects a packed house.
Tickets for the games are being sold by schools in the championship. Tickets will be sold at the coliseum starting Friday.