Updated 10/18/2012 06:25 PM
Times Union Center bids on NCAA Tournament
We've fought and won before, but nine years have passed since the Times Union Center has hosted NCAA Tournament action. As our Erin Vannella reports, the city wants it back and it's taking creative measures to get it.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- "Usually for this kind of event, we'll do about 16,000 people for a game,” said Times Union Center General Manager Bob Belber. "Usually, there's at least two sessions, sometimes three, for these NCAA championship events."
Belber waits for word from the NCAA. Will Albany get to host the 2014 and 2015 tournaments?
"This year, we were very creative in our bid process," said Belber. "We've been aggressive in the amount of revenues we're trying to make available to the NCAA and we've kind of put a stimulus plan in place, making it more attractive to them if we get back to back years."
It's been nine years since the venue has hosted tourney games. That year, the region made $10 million. This year, even if the TU Center shares concession revenues with the NCAA, Belber and bid supporters say Albany would win again.
"The amount of spending between ticket sales and popcorn and soda and beer is about $10 a head on average and then there's the merchandise sales," said Belber. "So it's a big economic stimulus to the market."
"Sure there's no doubt that it has a great benefit," said Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings. "There aren't only the games, but the exposure on television, exposure for our city, the capital region, rooms being booked, flights coming in and out of here, it's great for everyone."
"It will sell us out," said Albany Downtown Hampton Inn and Suites General Manager Todd Reichelt. "We do see that sometimes but not every weekend and certainly not in March. At the rates we contract for, it would be better than a normal weekend. Revenue-wise, it would be better than $40,000."
With two weeks to wait for an answer, Belber says he likes his chances.
"It's just a matter of how many other markets, how many other arenas, how much money can they make elsewhere before coming to Albany, which is why we've stepped up and made it a little more attractive for revenue generation," said Belber.