Columbia plans big bash for March Madness games

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in Columbia could generate up to $9 million for the local economy.

Columbia  will host the first and second round of March Madness March 22 and 24 at the Colonial Life Arena on the USC campus.

The tournament was the topic of discussion at a press conference Monday.  The NCAA regional will be the first one here since 1970. It is expected to bring between 20,000 and 25,000 fans (including media, teams, and staff). They will book about 3,000 hotel night reservations. The games will have an economic impact of $4-to-9 million.

Columbia will display 100 banners on the streets and there will be a welcoming table at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport.
Besides the games, Experience Columbia SC and other city hospitality hosts will hold events for fans, including a Fan Fest in the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center and special events hosted by neighborhoods, restaurants, businesses and hotels.

Schedule of events:

Thursday, March 21 – Open practice – free admission – Fan Fest Experience – 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center

Friday, March 22 – Fan Fest Experience – 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. – Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center

Friday, March 22 – First Round games – Colonial Life Arena –

Sunday, March 24 – Second Round games – Colonial Life Arena

Restaurants and breweries will also host specials for the tournament, but there will be no beer sales at the tournament.

Categories: Columbia, Richland County, Sports