Preparations are underway for the influx of business expected in the area. The little details add up to create a tailored experience for teams coming to play at UD arena. Red carpets are rolled out for arriving players and bag pipers will play each team’s fight song, Powell said.
“Our organization works very hard to make sure that the student athletes receive a warm welcome when they arrive,” she said. “Every year, there’s a tremendous effort to make sure we’re doing everything possible to create a great atmosphere, and ensure we bring this event to Dayton in the future.”
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UD Arena has hosted more NCAA events than any other facility in the nation, and Dayton has been in the NCAA’s top 5 in attendance every season since 1969. The First Four will be played at UD Arena at least through 2018.
“They’ve got this incredible track record that goes back to the opening round… and the local organizing committee there has just gotten stronger and more committed each and every year,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA vice president for men’s basketball, in a statement.
The Big Hoopla, the nonprofit of the local First Four organizing committee, is comprised of Dayton business leaders like Dayton Development Coalition President Jeff Hoagland, Downtown Dayton Partnership Sandy Gudorf and JP Nauseef, president and CEO of Krush Technologies.
The tournament is a win for the Dayton area because the NCAA brings national brand recognition and unmatched media coverage, putting the city in front of thousands of viewers, organizers said.
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Last March, the tournament was the most-watched program on cable TV, and at least one of the four winning teams of the First Four advanced beyond the next round for the sixth consecutive year.
“Dayton is home to America’s No. 1 host site and America’s most passionate college basketball fans,” Nauseef said. “The region’s commitment to the NCAA Tournament has no equal. This fact seems to further demonstrate Dayton is America’s choice.”
And for businesses, it means a week of hungry, thirsty fans who are ready to root for their favorite team. Mark Specht, the owner of Balloons Galore & Gifts in Springboro, is one of the businesses that have prospered from the event. Specht will deliver hundreds of balloons in the colors of every team selected for the tournament.
“We’ve done it for many years, ever since the tournament has been here. We’re prepared and organized,” he said. “We get them to each team and it’s another way to say, ‘Welcome to Dayton, folks.’”
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BY THE NUMBERS AT UD ARENA
16 consecutive years tipping off March Madness
113 NCAA tournament games
30 NCAA tournaments hosted
Source: Dayton Hoopla Committee