NCAA basketball, and other tournaments draw big crowds and revenue to South Bend

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 5:33 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - For the first time since 2019, the University of Notre Dame is hosting rounds of the NCAA Women’s March Madenss tournament this weekend.

It may be the University’s spring break, but with March Madness happening at Purcell Pavilion, and all of the other tournaments and events going on, tons of people are visiting South Bend.

From Utah and Nebraska, even Colorado, fans are crawling the city’s streets, and local businesses say they’re excited for the out of state support.

And basketball isn’t the only thing bringing people to South Bend.

This weekend, South Bend is also hosting 60 teams for a Youth Hockey Tournament, 150 squads for a cheerleading competition, and the St. Joseph Valley Open for table tennis.

Local restaurants, hotels, and shops have been packed, but excited, saying that while busy weekends like these may not be great for drivers and traffic, it is fantastic for business.

“We are really appreciative of all of the visitors supporting local. It’s really still very important to us,” says Peg Dalton, the owner of popular South bend breakfast spot, Peggs.

Dalton tells 16 News Now that on Friday morning they served tables of 45, 34 and 25. Instead of being overwhelmed, she says they’re just grateful for the business.

“It’s a great opportunity to host teams from all over the country. Obviously, we’ll have some fans who maybe wouldn’t be here otherwise, or don’t come to South Bend maybe ever for anything. So, it’s a unique opportunity for them to explore a little bit, see what we’re about. Maybe they want to come back in the future,” says Jake Brown, the Director of Marketing and Communications for Visit South Bend Mishawaka.

According to Brown, Notre Dame home football weekends draw in revenues of around $17 million dollars, and while this weekend likely won’t come close to that, it is still expected to make a significant economic boost not only in South Bend, but also throughout St. Joseph County.