Analyzing the economic impact of the NCAA Tournament
Six great basketball games played in an intimate arena packed with 12,000 jazzed fans for every game. What’s not to like?
Nothing, as it turns out. For us, for the NCAA and even for national TV fans who were able to get a better view from home.
NCAA President Mark Emmert told the Statesman’s Chadd Cripe that he was impressed with the sell-out crowds and the energy at Boise’s Taco Bell arena. In other parts of the country, in bigger arenas, the games were not always as crowded or as energetic.
“We love being in Boise,” Emmert said.
The NCAA Tournament returned for the first time since 2009, after having been a Boise regular for 20 years. It was an unqualified success, at least after broadcasters lowered the cameras in the rafters a little closer to the action for viewers at home.
Boise has a reputation as an indifferent sports town, with fans spoiled by near-perfect Boise State football teams who don’t always fill Albertson stadium.
But Taco Bell Arena did sell out some Bronco basketball games this season. With the Big Sky Conference basketball tournament coming in 2019 and ESPN’s X Games returning in June, Boise has more chances to demonstrate its big-league bona fides.
Another positive sign: CBS broadcasters knew how to properly pronounce Boy-See, and without any patronizing discussion.
For this year’s NCAA tournament, Boise adopted upstart Buffalo. The underdog beat Arizona before losing to powerhouse Kentucky, which is headed to the Sweet 16. Northwest favorite, Spokane’s Gonzaga, bested Ohio State to become the other team to advance from Boise — a fourth consecutive Sweet 16 for the Zags and a chance to repeat last year’s trip to the championship game.
The fans, coaches and players returned the love. Heck, we even made bad boy John Calipari happy. The Kentucky coach found a Boise donut shop to like, DK’s on State Street.
“I just want to say thank you to all the fans,” Buffalo guard CJ Massinburg said.
You are more than welcome. We can’t wait for the tournament to return in 2021.
Unsigned editorials represent the opinions of the Statesman Editorial Board.