Local officials kicked-off the NCAA tournament in Buffalo Monday. First Niagara Center will host rounds two and three of the tournament this Thursday and Saturday.
Nearly 100 volunteers are ready to assist people visiting Buffalo for the tournament. The helpers will be wearing NCAA tournament fleeces, while holding “Ask Me!” signs and distributing maps to guide visitors to various local restaurants and attractions.
Visit Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Patrick Kaler says the event is expected to have a $5.2 million economic impact on Buffalo.
“I encourage visitors who are looking for more information on where to stay, play, shop and eat while in town check out the visitbuffaloniagara.com website or stop by our Visitor Center in the Market Arcade at 617 Main Street,” said Kaler.
A $50,000 grant was secured by Sen. Patrick Gallivan and Sen. Mark Grisanti. The funds will be used for a youth event on tournament practice day. Several public schools including Niagara Falls School District, Dr. Charles Drew #59 and Olmsted #156 will participate in the youth event. The grant will also go toward gifts for youth event participants, signage, volunteer apparel and police escorts.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says the tournament offers a chance for tourists to see the great things happening in the city.
“As in past tournaments, this year once again gives us an opportunity to shine when the national spotlight is on us, and I’m confident that all who come to town for the games will leave with positive memories of their time here and want to return again,” said Poloncarz.
Visit Buffalo Niagara also has a team of people monitoring the #BuffHoops on twitter. The social media team will be tweeting out important information and answering visitor’s tweets.
Mayor Byron Brown adds that the Buffalo police department and the department of public works are working together to ensure Buffalo is safe and safe for visitors.
“March Madness is a wonderful and exciting opportunity to again showcase the City of Buffalo to NCAA basketball fans from across the country. Sports is so much a part of Buffalo’s history and everyday life. With $4.3 billion of economic development activity underway in our city, NCAA visitors will be experiencing firsthand the great progress in Buffalo,” said Brown.