Estimates show March Madness poured $10 million into the Magic City

Thousands of people packed Birmingham for March Madness
Thousands of people packed Birmingham for March Madness
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 4:38 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - March madness resumes tonight and while you have likely been checking your bracket, tourism and city leaders have been checking their wallets.

The big question, just how large of an economic impact did the beloved tourney make for the Magic city.

Tourism leaders at the Convention and Visitors Bureau were hopeful to land somewhere between $6 and $10 million. Today, they are all smiles and now estimate the tourney led to a $10.3 million economic impact.

“I think it is huge, and it just speaks to sports tourism and how important it is for our community,” said Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau Vice President Sports Sales & Marketing David Galbaugh.

The CVB used a number of factors to get the estimate with the sell out crowds in Legacy Arena and the hotel occupancy numbers chief among them.

“We weren’t completely sold in our downtown hotel inventory but, basically for Thursday through Saturday, we ran at 85 percent occupancy. So I really think that speaks to what that event did for our community and the economic impact it contributed to our economy,” said Galbaugh.

Rev Birmingham is another group who monitored the crowds closely and stress the data suggests a huge week for Birmingham.

“Thursday alone we had up to forty thousand people in the uptown district and almost one hundred and thirty thousand people walking around downtown. That is on a Thursday, it is one of the biggest weekdays we have had since 2020. Huge predictor for the post COVID world,” said Rev Birmingham City Center District Manager Michael Symes.

According to Rev data, 55.42 percent of the Thursday crowds were from over 30 miles away and on Saturday nearly 30,000 people visited the Uptown District.

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