INDIANAPOLIS — Those in charge of organizing the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in central Indiana say there is no way to know what the economic impact of the event will be until after it’s over.
Earlier expectations of the event, considering that no fans would be allowed to watch the games in person, was around $100 million in economic impact for the region. But, Chris Gahl with Visit Indy, says since the decision by the NCAA and Marion County to allow fans into games, that number is likely to be a lot different.
“It was a very big win in terms of how it will boost the economic impact felt by this event,” Gahl told Inside Indiana Business. “We are just so incredibly thankful that the NCAA was so thought this decision making.”
The NCAA said last week that up to 25-percent of each venue’s capacity will be allowed inside each of the six arenas that are host tournament games in central Indiana this month. That’s including players, coaches, team staff, and venue personnel.
The last time the city host a Final Four the economic impact for central Indiana was around $225 million.
Gahl said even though it won’t be a whole lot of fans allowed inside this time around for the whole tournament, it will still help the overall impact of the event. But, he says it’s difficult to know how much that economic impact will be. So, they are working with economists they have worked with before to figure that out.
“This firm is going to really look at all the hundreds of variables, arguably thousands of variables that go into hosting March Madness in its entirety,” he said. “And we’re going to have a post-game report on just how healthy this event was.”
Gahl said regardless of how much money the city and its businesses make of the event, it is certainly a big boost. He said the event is welcome news for roughly 50-percent of central Indiana’s tourism workforce, which is roughly 83,000 people, who are either under-employed or unemployed.