LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 28, 2016) – Approximately 39,000 fans packed the KFC Yum! Center for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship South Regional tournament games, generating an economic impact of $15 million. The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball First and Second Round games were hosted at the arena in 2015, but this makes the first time Regional games have ever been hosted at the KFC Yum! Center and the first time in 29 years they were hosted in Louisville.
“Once again, the city of Louisville, our colleagues at the University of Louisville and the people from the KFC Yum! Center have done a terrific job hosting March Madness,” said Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s vice president for men’s basketball championships. “It is rare, and it is challenging, for a city and venue to host preliminary rounds of the tournament in consecutive years, but Louisville is able to pull it off because of the tremendous passion the community has for college basketball and the amazing effort put forth by everyone involved.”
This is the ninth NCAA championship event hosted by the University of Louisville and the KFC Yum! Center, and the impact was felt throughout the entire community. Preparations began nearly a year in advance of the event, shortly after the venue hosted the 2015 NCAA Division I Basketball Men’s First and Second round games.
“Events of this magnitude take a great deal of work from a number of members of our staff and other organizations.” said Dennis Petrullo, KFC Yum! Center General Manager. “KFC Yum! Center, University of Louisville and NCAA staff have spent countless hours planning, setting up and executing the event to ensure its success. We are grateful for the ongoing efforts of the University of Louisville to secure and operate the event. Without their commitment, the KFC Yum! Center would not have been able to host such a successful championship event.”
“The city of Louisville comes together whenever we host large scale events and that makes it more enticing for organizations like the NCAA to return. We could not be more pleased with the community support we received throughout the tournament,” said Petrullo. “The event truly showcased the KFC Yum! Center as one of the nation’s premier entertainment and sports venues to the millions of fans who viewed the games in person or on television. We look forward to continuing to build upon our relationship with the NCAA and hosting more successful events in the future.”
“The NCAA tournament brings plenty of excitement and economic activity to Louisville when it is hosted here. Last year, we saw 1,700 fans at the Visitors Center alone, double the traffic of a typical March weekend. Our attractions, hotels and downtown restaurants benefit from this event and its primary location at the Yum Center.” said Karen Williams, Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau President & CEO.
Hosting NCAA tournament games is about more than filling hotel rooms. It’s about creating a culture and an atmosphere that brings the city to life during the high-profile event that puts Louisville in the national spotlight.
“The University of Louisville would once again like to thank the KFC Yum! Center management and staff; they worked tirelessly to make sure every aspect of the South Regional ran smoothly. We also want to thank the Convention and Visitors Bureau, who helped with numerous aspects of the Championship. And finally, a big thank you to the volunteers, who spent countless hours to make sure the smallest details were attended to,” said Josh Heird, University of Louisville Assistant Athletic Director. “The collaboration between all involved makes Louisville, KY a special place for teams and fans to experience the March Madness.”