Buffalo Welcomes Return of NCAA Tournament

Showcasing 716 for #MarchMadness

March 14, 2017 - 10:28 am
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Buffalo leaders and others gathered inside the KeyBank Center lobby on Tuesday to promote the upcoming NCAA Tournament in Buffalo.

Thousands of college basketball fans are expected to converge to Buffalo later this week and are expected to contribute about $8 million to the local economy.

"Buffalo has become the center for amateur sports in the northeast," Rich Ensor, commissioner of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, said at Tuesday's press conference. "Whether its ice hockey or basketball, they've shown here in Buffalo that they can put together a team of folks that can make things happen. They don't happen without a great private and public partnership. We're very pleased to be able to partner with them."

KeyBank Center will host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament on March 16 and 18. Thursday's games are as follows:

12:15 p.m.: Notre Dame vs. Princeton
2:45 p.m.: West Virginia vs. Bucknell
7:10 p.m.: Villanova vs. Mt. St. Mary's/New Orleans
9:50 p.m.: Wisconsin vs. Virginia Tech

Three years ago was the last time Buffalo hosted the NCAA Tournament. The city, particularly the area around Canalside, has improved dramatically.

"Downtown Buffalo has taken a dramatic step forward since the Tournament's last visit in 2014 which will make htis year's Tournament our best yet," Michael Gilbert, Buffalo Sabres VP of administration and HarborCenter General Manager said in a release. "Our organization has been proud to play a role in our city's rapid redevelopment and we are excited about our future as Buffalo continues to grow as an ideal city for hosting these marquee events."

Gilbert added that KeyBank Center is ready and the "doors are open".

Mayor Byron Brown said the NCAA Tournament will be a "slam dunk" for the region.

"We have crews out throughout the entire City of Buffalo making sure our streets are open and passable," Brown said. "Also ensuring that the traveling experience will be a good one in the City of Buffalo."

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