MAAC once again proves to be boost for local economy - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

MAAC once again proves to be boost for local economy

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The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference basketball championships wrap up Monday but it has brought visitors into the Springfield area from all over.

The MAAC basketball championships began Thursday at the MassMutual Center. Men's and women's college teams traveled in to compete. With 22 teams, family and fans, Springfield's economy is getting a much-needed boost.

"We've been here the whole weekend we've been having a ball. We've made a lot of friends in your local places," said Susan Jarosz, a parent of one of the players in the tournament. 

In addition to revenue from ticket sales, downtown Springfield's economy is benefiting from the tournament. Local restaurants are seeing an increase in business. JT's Sports Bar downtown had to beef up staff over the weekend to handle the crowds.

"There's been a fair amount of representation from each of the schools. As each day goes, schools get eliminated, but now it's the calm before the storm with the final two, so we'll see some more business for sure," said General Manager of JT's Keith Makarowski.

Many fans travel to Springfield to watch their team play every year.

"It's fun, I like to watch the basketball. We have a good time," said Carol Splendorio, a MAAC fan. 

The Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau says this event will make a significant impact to the area. President Mary Kay Wydra tells CBS 3, "While there's no exact science in calculating economic impact, we do know that the MAAC championship pumps well over a million dollars directly into our local economy."

The women's finals were held earlier Monday afternoon. The men's game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday.

Next year the tournament moves to Albany.

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