By Brandon Addeo | The Duquesne Duke
Duquesne hosted six second and third round games of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament last week at CONSOL Energy Center, marking the fourth time in history it has hosted early-round games of the national tournament.
Eight teams from the East and Midwest regions competed in Pittsburgh. Teams played four second round games March 19 and two third round matchups March 21.
One of the most popular events in sports, the tournament brought an estimated $7 million in spending to Pittsburgh, according to VisitPittsburgh.com. The slate of tournament games in 2012 resulted in $7.1 million in spending.
“We feel that it very successful,” Duquesne’s senior associate athletic director Phil Racicot said. “We had great crowds, we had great games. We were very pleased to have the opportunity to host the event and bring it to Pittsburgh and represent Duquesne well.”
Lafayette senior guard Joey Ptasinski told The Duke he enjoyed playing in Pittsburgh.
“[Consol] was definitely the best place I’ve ever played in,” Ptasinski said. “I enjoyed my time here, Pittsburgh is a great city. I loved staying here and everything everyone did for me here.”
JayVaughn Pinkston, a senior power forward for Villanova, said he also enjoyed playing in Consol, and liked practicing in Duquesne’s A.J. Palumbo Center, even though it was “a little tight.”
Racicot, who helped organize the games, said only two NCAA representatives were present to oversee the tournament.
“The rest was on us,” Racicot said.
The majority of the tournament’s planning began about a year ago, and intensified about six months prior to the beginning of the tournament, according to Racicot.
As compensation for hosting the games, the NCAA will give a $200,000 “honorarium” to Duquesne athletics.
“[The money] is certainly not the biggest reason why we do this … but to bring in those dollars every so often is helpful to us for sure,” Racicot said.
Duquesne previously hosted NCAA tournament games in 1997 and 2002 at the former Civic Arena, and again in 2012 at the newly constructed Consol Energy Center.
The NCAA accepted a bid from Duquesne to host games again in 2018, according to Racicot.
Duquesne entered its bid for the 2015 NCAA tournament games shortly after the 2012 tournament ended. To win a bid, a university must partner with the facility in which games would be held and propose a budget, ticket prices and team/media hotel accommodations, Racicot said.
Tickets for this year’s games ranged between $228 and $600 per seat, according to CONSOL Energy Center’s website.
Duquesne associate professor of economics Antony Davies said the majority of the economic impact from the tournament comes from money spent by travelers at places like bars, restaurants and hotels.