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March 21, 2019

Hoops, hockey, crossword events add to 'March Madness' tourism spending

Photo | Twitter via UConn women's basketball

The NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament in downtown Hartford won’t be the only collegiate event generating tourism dollars for the state this weekend.

While the men’s playoff at XL Center is now expected to inject more than $7.8 million into the state’s economy this weekend, another roughly $3.6 million in spending will be generated from NCAA women’s tournaments at UConn, Quinnipiac University and at another event in Stamford, according to the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau (CTCSB).

As an institution host, UConn will have its hands full this weekend hosting the first two rounds of the men’s tournament in Hartford and the Division I women’s basketball playoff at UConn’s campus in Storrs on Friday and Sunday.

According to CTCSB, teams and officials will be occupying four area hotels for the women’s tournament in Storrs, with visitors projected to spend more than $1.5 million during their weekend stays. The leisure spending will support more than 340 jobs in the hospitality sector and generate more than $94,000 in tax revenues for the state.

The first women’s games begin Friday at 4:30 p.m. in Harry A. Gampel Pavilion, when Rutgers University faces University of Buffalo, followed at 7 p.m., by UConn vs. Towson University. The arena seats about 10,100.

Also on Friday and Sunday in Hamden, Quinnipiac is hosting semi-final games for the 2019 NCAA Division I women’s hockey tournament at the 3,500-seat People’s United Center. Games begin Friday at 4 p.m. with winners facing off Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

The hockey tournament is expected to net almost $1.2 million in leisure spending throughout the weekend, which would produce $825,000 in state tax revenues. Five Greater New Haven hotels will host teams and officials.

Stamford’s Marriott Hotel & Spa this weekend is also hosting the 42nd annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. The three-day tournament is projected to generate the least leisure spending of the four statewide events this weekend, but competitive crossword puzzle competitions generate more economic activity than you might think.

More than 1,000 crossword enthusiasts are expected to visit Fairfield County over the weekend, with visitors projected to spend $825,000, generating $51,000 in state taxes.

‘March Madness’ in downtown Hartford

The men’s “March Madness” tournament returns to the XL Center Thursday afternoon for the first time since 1998.

The first game at XL pits No. 4 Florida State against No. 13 Vermont at 2 p.m., with No. 5 Marquette vs. No. 12 Murray State following the conclusion of game one. Winners of these West region matchups will face on Saturday to advance to third-round play next weekend in Anaheim, Calif.

Also on Thursday in the South region, No. 6 Villanova, which has won two of the last three national championships, plays at 7:20 p.m. vs. No. 11 St. Mary’s. At 9: 50 p.m., No. 3 Purdue is slated to play vs. No. 14 Old Dominion. Winners of the two games will also be matched up on Saturday.

The state Department of Transportation on Wednesday said it added more Hartford southbound trips during the late night hours to accommodate tournament play on Thursday and Saturday.

The southbound train after the final games will depart Hartford Union Station at 12:15 am, or 30 minutes after the conclusion of the game (whichever is later). It will make stops in Berlin, Meriden, Wallingford and at New Haven's Union Station.

For northbound travelers, bus service will be available from Hartford Union Station and is scheduled to depart at 12:15 am or 30 minutes after the game with stops in Windsor, Windsor Locks and Springfield stations.

Read more

A guide for the NCAA men's tournament in Hartford

Vaunted NCAA basketball tournament returns to unlikely home in Hartford's XL Center

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