From the Orlando Sentinel —
The Amway Center will host first-and second-round games of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in 2017. The games are scheduled to tip off on March 16 and 18, with the Final Four taking place at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
Other sites for the 2017 first- and second-round games include Buffalo, Milwaukee, Salt Lake City, Greensboro, Indianapolis, Tulsa, Sacramento, Kansas City, San Jose, Memphis and New York City. It will be the second time in a three-year span that Central Florida has been selected to host tournament games.
“We’re very pleased,” said John Bisignano, president of the Central Florida Sports Commission. “It’s an exceptionally competitive marketplace out there and the NCAA clearly stated that today.” Bisignano points to some of the other first-time sites as examples of how challenging it’s become to host games.
He praised those involved in securing the bid, including city and county officials along with representatives from UCF and Stetson University.
“It really truly is a team effort,” he said. But none of it would be possible without the help of the Amway Center itself. “It starts with the building,” Bisignano said. “It’s absolutely amazing the flexibility that we have with a dependable competitive advantage literally over most of our competitors out there.” Bisignano said it’s also crucial to provide a great fan experience. He also said it’s important to generate revenue with a variety of courtside seats. “It caught the attention of a lot of key leaders,” Bisignano said of Orlando’s ability to fulfill both requirements at Amway Center. Orlando hosted tournament games earlier this year, with Florida, Louisville, Manhattan, Albany, Colorado, N.C. State, Pitt and St. Louis playing games at Amway Center.
The event saw more than 16,000 unique visitors descend upon the area and generated $13 million in economic impact on the community, according to city and county officials. That doesn’t factor in the boost from having the city showcased during games broadcast on national television. Bisignano said officials were hoping to land a bid to host the Sweet 16 in either 2016, 2017 or 2018, but Louisville, Memphis and Atlanta were awarded those opportunities instead. That won’t deter local officials from bidding again for the chance to host the Sweet 16 in 2019, 2020 or 2021….MORE HERE.