Salt Lake City– To most people the month of March means basketball, and for those living in Salt Lake City it is no exception, as the Energy Solutions Arena played host to numerous games for the NCAA tournament. The city is now basking in the benjamins after playing host to several games of the tournament at the Energy Solutions Arena.
Those who were there to watch the games last weekend said you would have had a hard time missing the crowds and the stores overflowing with people because of the massive amounts of fans visiting to support their basketball teams. The large crowds had locals excited because the long lines at the games meant more money for neighboring businesses.
“We’ve definitely seen an increase in sales over the last couple of days. You can always tell because they’re wearing their game apparel or their favorite team sweatshirt…so we’ve seen an increase in that and we love it. We love having them in town,” Nathan Fielding, manager of California Pizza Company said.
Not only did the tournament keep restaurants hopping, but the thousands of fans visiting from all over the country kept hotel rooms, parking lots and shopping malls full.
“Tourist shoppers are very important to our success. 30% of our retailers sales come from people who live more than 50 miles away from the center,” Dee Brewer, City Creek Center’s marketing manager said.
Economists predict that the increase in customers pumped anywhere from 4 to 6 million dollars into the local economy, giving stores a much welcomed boost to their business.
“We love visiting shoppers because they buy and they don’t bring returns back. Honestly what we hope is that they have a great experience and they tell their friends and come back another day,” said Brewer.
The city council said they will be doing analysis of the 2010 and 2013 games hosted in Salt Lake City to see the impact the games had on the Salt Lake economy.
Many fans in Utah were upset that not a single team in the Salt Lake area made it to play at the Energy Solutions Arena. But economists say that the lack of local teams translates to more money spent because most of the fans watching the games were visiting from out of state.