NCAA tournament brings big bucks to Bay State

Hosting the Sweet Sixteen in the Hub will bring a boom to local businesses.

Boston-area basketball teams may not have qualified for the NCAA tournament, but hosting the Sweet Sixteen in the Hub will bring a boom to local businesses.


Patrick Moscaritolo, president of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, said March Madness will put between $18 and $22 million into the city's economy through fans, members of the four teams and alumni associations spending cash.


"We have lucked out. It's coming at such a great time because the middle of March isn't the strongest season for visitor activity," he said. "For our tourism industry, this is all found money -- money pouring in at just the right time."


The NCAA men's basketball tournament, which kicks off today at TD Garden and stretches through Saturday, is expected to bring more than 8,000 tourists from around the country to Boston.


But Moscaritolo said the draw to the city is more than a two-day sporting event.

"The teams started arriving Monday and NCAA officials were here since Sunday. It's really a seven- or eight-day event," he said.

The cash flow ripples out beyond the city lines and even helps areas like Cambridge.

Moscaritolo said eight hotels, including two across the Charles River, are housing the groups of sports fans.

In addition to attending the games and staying at hotels, visitors will flock to restaurants and bars, and they'll likely hit tourist attractions during downtime between events.

Bar biz bound for boost

It's "all hands on deck" at The Greatest Bar as they ready to host an official NCAA-sponsored event today.

Owner Bill Fairweather said having the basketball games nearby is like having the Super Bowl at the TD Garden.

"One game makes all the difference in the world -- having two is that much better," he said. "People are already staking out where they want to go and we are the center of the universe down here."

A general manager at Game On next to Fenway Park said they have seen an influx in bar-goers.

"It's good to have ... during a lull. It helps out the entire city," said Ryan Jones.

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear

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