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Study: 2017 Final Four had $324.5M economic impact in Phoenix area

A fan holds tickets as he arrives at University of Phoenix Stadium before the semifinals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament between South Carolina and Gonzaga, Saturday, April 1, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — The 2017 Final Four generated more than $324 million in economic impact for the Phoenix area, a study released Wednesday showed.

The study from Arizona State University’s W.P Carey School of Business said the $324.5 million was generated by out-of-town visitor spending, organizational spending and ripple spending effects of the event.

The average visitor stayed slightly more than four days and spent about $487 per day.

About $11.7 million in tax revenue was generated in taxes that will be split between cities, Maricopa County and the state.

Phoenix-area hotel prices rose to their second-highest ever level during the Final Four as people poured into town for the games.

More than 150,000 people attended the semifinal and championship games at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, the second-largest crowd in the event’s history. Nearly 23 million more tuned in to watch.

“Mega sporting events are a huge benefit to Arizona’s economy, generating millions in revenue and tax dollars and providing incredible national and international media exposure for our state,” Gov. Doug Ducey said in a release.

It was estimated that 400,000 fans enjoyed the Final Four festivities in downtown Phoenix that was headlined by an Aerosmith concert. The free concert reached capacity within minutes of the gates opening.

Many fans who flew in for the madness said they had a great time at all the events and loved what the Valley had to offer.

“Pretty much ready to move here and would transfer tomorrow,” Erin Rotondo, a North Carolina fan from Indianapolis, said.

It seemed Valley residents enjoyed the events as well. A Nielsen survey said 76 percent of people who live in the Phoenix area felt the events add jobs and have an economic benefit, while 69 percent said such large events make the Valley a good place to live.

The Final Four was the culmination of three years of major sports events held at University of Phoenix Stadium — the Super Bowl in 2015, the College Football Playoff National Championship in 2016 and the Final Four.

“This stadium has just been unbelievable,” Arizona Cardinals President Michael Bidwill said during a press conference. “We envisioned it to be an economic engine, and it truly has been.”

It was estimated the three events generated a total of $1.3 billion in economic impact.

Arizona Sports’ Adam Green contributed to this report.

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