DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The First Four games bring thousands of people to the Miami Valley each year. The event has become a tradition not just for fans, but for UD Arena itself.
For 19 years, the NCAA has held games here at UD Arena and the fans keep on coming.
“Two of us are local, two of us are from Memphis, Tenneseee,” says fan Gregg Shawen. “We’re kind of making it an annual event.”
“This year we’re celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary and every month we’re doing something special, so we picked this one,” Victoria Smith tells 2 NEWS.
While plenty of attendees are local, many come from very far away.
“I’m from Rapid City, South Dakota, and I flew in this morning to see the NDSU Bison,” one fan says.
These visitors will be a few of the 12 thousand people that can fit in the arena.
First Four Tournament Manager Scott DeBolt says, “We’re a little bit down in attendance this year as far as capacity-wise due to our renovations, but we were near capacity last night.”
Attendance is expected to be near capacity again Wednesday night.
Those 12 thousand people, plus the teams, end up spending between four and five million dollars in the area every year.
The First Four tournament will be held in Dayton until at least 2022.