Events a slam-dunk for Pioneer Valley economy The Tip Off returns to Springfield this coming weekend - Saturday, Sunday and Monday - and will feature an expanded format that will see 12 teams play 10 games over a three day period at the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield.
Hoophall events slam-dunk for economy
Hall: Events a slam-dunk for Pioneer Valley economy The Tip Off returns to Springfield this coming weekend - Saturday, Sunday and Monday - and will feature an expanded format that will see 12 teams play 10 games over a three day period at the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield.
For those who fill out their annual "March Madness" brackets, you'll recognize such tournament contenders as Loyola Marymount, University of Southern California, New Mexico State and Bradley University along with local favorite UMass all playing during the weekend. The event will also include the city's own institutions - Springfield College and AIC - to recognize their programs and provide local flavor.
The planning for such an event starts nearly a year in advance and the culmination of that work is not only great basketball but a significant economic impact for the region. As these teams arrive, the economic engine starts running with the typical tournament expenses of ground transportation, hotel rooms, meals and entertainment for the teams and their traveling parties.
The MassMutual Center comes alive with ticket sales, concession sales, parking revenues and seemingly unending work for those who are responsible for the logistics and operations of the games. Downtown bars and restaurants will see an uptick in business as fans visit before and after games. In all, an event such as the Tip Off weekend adds more than $1.2 million to the local economy and it is just one of the events the Hall of Fame develops and sponsors throughout the year.
The Hall of Fame also has built the nation's leading national high school invitational, The Spalding Hoophall Classic, which takes place on the campus of Springfield College during the Martin Luther King Weekend in January. In 2011, the Hall of Fame and Springfield will welcome the top five nationally ranked high school teams and seven of the top 10 nationally ranked programs to our event. Our good neighbors Big Y Supermarkets have been longtime supporters of this premier event.
Those who attend know the talent level at that event - in this past June's NBA draft, 13 players who have played in our Hoophall Classic were drafted into the league; five of the top 10 nationally rated seniors will be here in Springfield this coming January. ESPN, ESPN-U and ESPN3 will feature this tournament with seven games during the weekend. With 46 teams and 24 games during the four-day period, the economic impact of that event also exceeds $1 million for the region - not bad for high school basketball.
The Hall of Fame has been at the center of the NCAA Division II National Championships that have occurred each March at the MassMutual Center for the past five years and will do so for one more year in 2011. Starting in 2012, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) will call Springfield its new tournament home for 2012-2014, bringing with it all of the fans and supporters of the teams vying for entry into "the big dance." While the NCAA Division II's have driven about $1.5 million in local economic impact, the MAAC will more than double that as the proximity of the various MAAC schools make Springfield an ideal destination.
And finally, the biggest event of our year is Enshrinement. The past two years have been phenomenal events, headlined in 2009 by Michael Jordan's induction, and 2010's induction of the Dream Teams and NBA stars Scottie Pippen and Karl Malone. The red carpet was rolled out around the city.
In 2010, we moved our date to August and expanded the events to a full week of activities that began with a magnificent event in Mason Square that recognized the exact spot where the game was invented, followed by a Nike-sponsored celebration of basketball that brought the game's place of invention to life.
VIP travel, accommodations, food, sponsor spending, attending media spending, facility rentals, ticket sales and other investments bring the economic impact to the city and region over $3 million for this event, and the bonus is that the world's eyes are upon the city during this period and celebrating its historic impact on the game.
These events, combined with the 200,000 visitors and guests we welcome to the Hall of Fame each year and the overall 1 million guests that visit our site to enjoy the hall, the restaurants, the hotel and other amenities on the riverfront, make the hall a "heads-up point guard" for the region's economic presence.
John Doleva is president of the Naismith memorial basketball Hall of Fame.