Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament expected to bring millions to Greenville, SC

Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament expected to bring millions to Greenville

GREENVILLE, S.C. — When Adrian Means wants a workout, he goes to a basketball court. It’s not only how he stays active, but he loves the game of basketball, according to WHNS.

“From the time I was able to dribble a ball, I was on the court,” Means said.

Now that the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament is bouncing out of North Carolina and into the Upstate, he plans to attend some of the games.

“I’m hoping one of my teams might come, it will be great for me,” he said.

David Montgomery, vice president with VisitGreenvilleSC, put in a bid for Greenville to host the tournament.

“It’s a higher profile event, that kind of puts us a little higher on the pecking order,” Montgomery said.

Tournament administrators say they left North Carolina because of House Bill 2, also known as the bathroom bill. The NCAA board stated it made the decision because of actions taken by the state concerning civil rights protections.

“It really puts us in considerations for a lot of organizations who maybe not in the past would’ve considered Greenville,” Montgomery said.

Back in 2002, Furman University hosted two rounds during the basketball tournament, but a boycott of the state because of the confederate flag caused the state to lose bids.

“I think the flag certainly coming down was a pre-cursor for all of this happening,” Montgomery said.

So, now the first two preliminary rounds of men’s basketball will be played at Furman and the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in March.

“It feels good,” Beth Paul said.

Paul is the general manager with the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

“So when we setup for basketball, we can accommodate approximately 14,500. So, our goal is to double that for two days,” Paul said. “The best way for us to continue to secure high profile tournaments like this is to demonstrate success.”

Success means restaurant owners, hotels, and fans like Means, could all score big.

Administrators with the NCAA say fans who bought tickets to the first two rounds of the tournament for Greensboro, will have first opportunity to buy tickets to the games at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

Administrators with VisitGreenvilleSC estimate the tournament could bring in more than $4 million to the area. It also put in a bid for the tournament in 2019-2022, but no word yet on if it will get any of those games.