PHOENIX — The men’s NCAA college basketball championship — better known as the Final Four — pumped nearly $26 million in revenue into hotels in the Phoenix area, a website said.
Hotel News Now reported the four-day tournament brought an additional $25.9 million revenue increase to Valley hotels, the largest such increase in the past six host cities.
“We’re very lucky to see some really great numbers both in occupancy and revenue per available room, which is how hotels kind of judge themselves,” Debbie Johnson, the Phoenix Final Four Local Organizing Committee co-chair, said.
Johnson said the big boom in hotel revenues is likely a good sign that other businesses cleaned up as well.
“We’re able to tell that the lodging was strong and I think we’ve been able to deduce so far — and we’ll obviously see when we get our economic impact report — that car rentals are going to be strong that restaurants and bars are going to be strong,” she said.
The basketball tournament sent hotel prices in the Valley to their second-highest level ever, according to CheapHotels.org.
While the average price was $170 per night around the greater Phoenix area, some areas saw much higher prices.
Rooms in Glendale — where the Final Four was played — started about $400 per night, a full 300 percent above average. Rooms in downtown Phoenix — where some of the tournament-related events were held — and the always popular Scottsdale ran about $300 per night.
More than 150,000 people attended the Final Four semifinal and championship games in Glendale, making the event the second most-attended in the series’ history.
More than 77,600 fans who attended the national semifinals, in addition to the 76,168 fans who attended the championship game at University of Phoenix stadium, bringing a total of 153,780 fans to the Valley tournament.
Nearly the same number of fans — 135,000 — attended the March Madness Music Festival, which was a series of free concerts in downtown Phoenix that featured artists such as Keith Urban, Aerosmith and the Chainsmokers. The three-day festival was so widely anticipated that the concerts quickly reached capacity.
In addition, 107,268 fans attended the Tip-Off Tailgate, and 50,803 fans went to the Final Four Fan Fest in downtown Phoenix.
Dawn Rogers with the Phoenix Final Four Local Organizing Committee said Arizona did a “tremendous” job as a host.
“I think we over-delivered on the things that we said we’d do in our bid,” Rogers said. “What we consistently heard was that the Tip-Off Tailgate was one of the highest-attended ever, for this event.”
And fans of the NCAA tournament agreed, calling the event-filled weekend a slam dunk.
“I love Phoenix, the palm trees and the desert,” Erin Rotondo, a North Carolina fan from Indianapolis, said.
In total, downtown Phoenix welcomed an estimated 400,000 visitors during the Final Four weekend, which also featured events such as a Pride Festival and the Arizona Diamondbacks’ season-opener.
Around the country, 22,998,000 viewers tuned in to watch the North Carolina Tar Heels take home a victory over Gonzaga University.
KTAR’s Griselda Nevarez contributed to this report.