March Madness brings tournament tourism, big spending to Philly

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Four of the biggest teams in college basketball right now are in town for the NCAA East Men's Regional. (WPVI)

Four of the biggest teams in college basketball right now are in town for the NCAA East Men's Regional.

Norte Dame is playing Wisconsin and North Carolina is playing Indiana on Friday. The winners play each other on Sunday.

In between there's a whole lot of sightseeing going on, not to mention money being spent. Some visitors didn't waste any time celebrating National Cheesesteak Day.

"Philly cheesesteaks, everything," said Melissa Swoke, University of North Carolina.

"We still haven't eaten at Reading Terminal yet so we're probably doing that tomorrow," said Hannah Childress, University of North Carolina.

And that is music to the hears of the folks at the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau who tell us the basketball games are bringing 17,000 visitors into the city, taking up about 10,000 hotel room nights and generating $18.2 million for the city's economy.

In addition to March Madness, another sports event is underway and bringing millions of dollars to the city.

"We're planning on winning our tournament this weekend so that'll be fun, qualifying for nationals," said Brooke Hudson of Houston.

The 2016 ASICS Northeast Volleyball Qualifier is also in town this weekend, the East Coast's premier junior volleyball tournament at the Convention Center. The nation's top 970 clubs compete for a bid to the USA Volleyball National Championships.

"The combination of the two sporting events is going to take our hotel occupancy to over 95 percent in all of our hotels," said President and CEO Julie Coker-Graham, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau.

"I wanna go see the Rocky steps tomorrow," said Kennedy Rutherford of Houston.

The volleyball tournament is expected to add almost $36 million to the city's economy.

Not bad, but then again, Philadelphia is going through a bit of a Renaissance attracting many here for all it has to offer.
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