Conference USA Tournament Could Boost Local Economy


POSTED: Thursday, March 3, 2011 - 6:18pm

UPDATED: Thursday, March 3, 2011 - 7:43pm

The Conference USA Tournament is expected to pump millions of dollars into the local economy next week.

"The economic impact is probably going to be at a minimum of $3.5 million for the city bringing this tournament here," Wickstrom said.

It's El Paso's first time hosting the Conference USA Tournament and Brian Wickstrom from the UTEP athletic department says it seems like the entire city is prepping for the big event.

"When this thing was first announced in June, the city got excited. We've been getting phone calls from everybody in the city wanting to volunteer to help. We've been getting calls from businesses wanting to know what they can do to help," Wickstrom said.

Joe Frandina is the President of the Hotel/Motel Association here in El Paso. He says he's looking forward to the crowds because this basketball tournament could mean a slam dunk for the city.

"We're hoping that this will be the seed for a lot of business and that it'll grow and flourish," Frandina said.

Even though his hotel is already filling up, Frandina says it's great customer service that can help bring events like this one back to El Paso.

"It's how well we receive them as to whether we'll get this event again, which we hope to be in the rotation for," Frandina said.

Some even think this tournament could put both El Paso and UTEP on the map.

"We're trying to put our best foot forward to show people that they're going to come here and they're going to have a great time. We're going to be able to take our message back to 11 different cities in the country saying we had a great time, the weather was great, the people are great, the food is great," Wickstrom said.

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