Press Release: VBN Preps Industry Partners for NCAA Tournament

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For Immediate Release

BUFFALO, NY – Feb. 28, 2017 – Visit Buffalo Niagara and the Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission are working to prepare local attractions, hotels, restaurants and breweries for the upcoming influx of visitors expected for the NCAA Tournament.

VBN held an information session on Tuesday afternoon to apprise its tourism industry partners of what to expect when rounds one and two of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament occur in Buffalo on March 16 and 18. The tournament is expected to bring thousands of visitors downtown and conservatively generate $8 million in economic impact.

Information imparted at Tuesday’s session included:

The importance of a 90-minute time period on March 16 in between game sets where visitors must vacate Key Bank Center and will be looking for somewhere downtown to eat and drink. The specific times of those games – and the subsequent 90-minute intermission — will not be announced until Selection Sunday, March 12, so downtown establishments must be prepared to be flexible and staff accordingly.

VBN’s team of nearly 100 volunteers will be deployed on the streets near Key Bank Center, armed with relevant maps, information, and “Ask Me!” signs, providing information about nearby places to eat and drink.

The Visit Buffalo Niagara Tweet team, a coalition of over a dozen VBN staff and local social media power users, will be monitoring and answering questions visitors pose to the hashtag #hoopsBUF, as well as imparting real-time parking and restaurant information on the days of the game.

The information session is part of VBN’s larger strategy to make Buffalo as visitor-friendly as possible to ensure the tournament keeps coming back in future years.

The coming year is slated to be an unprecedented one for tourism in Buffalo, with a series of new developments and a host of major events coming to town, from the Gaelic Athletic Association’s Continental Youth Championships to the return of the World Junior Hockey Championships. Tuesday’s “Be in the Know” meeting is also a chance for VBN to apprise its industry partners of all the opportunities for additional business in the coming year.

“The return of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament represents an incredible opportunity to showcase the rebirth and redevelopment our destination has experienced in recent years,” VBN President and CEO Patrick Kaler said. “We want to make sure our valuable tourism partners are fully apprised of what to expect here next month, so our visitors can in turn have the best experience possible and want to keep coming back.”

Visit Buffalo Niagara sells and markets our assets and attractions to visitors outside of the Buffalo Niagara region as a convention, tourism and leisure destination for the economic benefit of the community.