People all over the country are filling out NCAA tournament brackets in their office pools. The tournament begins with 68 teams and a few weeks later it’s dwindled down to four. The Final Four. Those remaining four teams will play in Houston April 2nd and the money associated with games is staggering.
“We’re estimating that based on the number and based on the facts that we have on hand that a minimum of 100 million dollars will be spent here in Houston those four days.”
Greg Ortale is the director of Houston’s convention and visitor’s bureau. I asked him just how much 100 million means to a city the size of Houston.
“The hospitality industry is an industry made up of a lot of small businesses and believe me a hundred million dollars on this first weekend of April, compared to the first weekend of April last year and perhaps the first weekend of April next year is going to be big.”
That 100 million is money fans will spend on hotels, food, transportation, retail…and probably a few beers.
“Waiters and waitresses are going to get extra work. A lot of taxi cab drivers are going to have a really good weekend, so it really does trickle down to the people.”
The University of Houston didn’t make the NCAA tournament. But if it had, there are some local business that probably wouldn’t root for them to make the final four. That’s because having the local team play in the big dance might be good for the University, but the city itself would stand to lose millions of tourism dollars.
“The flip side of that is if Texas, A& M or one of the other schools that are within driving distance gets here, then we could have a title wave of folks coming into town.”
The NCAA tournament begins this week.