Connecticut’s Capital City is gearing up for the NCAA March Madness First and Second Round DI Men’s Basketball Championship to be held on Thursday, March 21 and Saturday, March 23, 2019 at the XL Center in Hartford.
Eight teams will extend their season into March here in Hartford. Four first-round games will take place on Thursday and two second-round games will be played Saturday. Two teams playing in Hartford will advance to the regional round the following weekend. Teams selected to play in the first and second rounds will be announced during Selection Sunday on March 17th. As the institutional host, if UConn qualifies for the post-season, the team would play at another championship venue.
On Wednesday, March 20th fans are invited to attend an all-day Open Practice Event hosted at the XL Center. Each of the eight teams will have a 30-minute practice time slot where fans can come and get a sneak peak of the tournament action. This is a free event and a great way for the local community to experience the NCAA Tournament first hand. The Open Practice will feature lunch and happy hour specials as well as interactive fan experiences that will provide a unique March Madness experience for fans of all ages.
Championship organizers expect a total of 25,000 attendees, with a preliminary projected economic impact to the Greater Hartford region of approximately $7.7 million as visitors stay in hotels, dine in local restaurants, shop, and enjoy attractions, according to the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau (CTCSB) and Destinations International economic calculator. Over 3,500 room nights are expected to be booked in nine Greater Hartford hotels by officials, athletes, cheerleaders, bands, alumni groups, and fans. More than 1,775 jobs in the hospitality industry will be supported by this tournament, and over $548,000 in Connecticut Sales Tax will be generated.
“Having the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships back in Hartford is not only a win for the XL Center and the City of Hartford, but for the region as a whole,” says Michael Freimuth, CRDA executive director. “Hotels and restaurants from Windsor Locks to Farmington and Rocky Hill will welcome the eight teams and their fans from across the country. We look forward to the tournament’s return.”
UConn, The XL Center, and city entities are coordinating efforts to generate excitement and provide a memorable experience for all fans visiting throughout the weekend. Many downtown restaurants and bars will offer special discounts and tournament related promotions. Select Hartford Parking Authority and LAZ parking garages & surface lots will be offering a Special Event Parking rate of $10 from March 20th-March 23rd. The Dash Shuttle, CT Transit's free circulator bus in downtown Hartford, will operate with extended hours on Wednesday, March 20th and Saturday, March 23rd. Fans visiting from out of town can learn more about the City of Hartford and all it has to offer at the Hartford Business Improvement District’s information booth at the XL Center throughout all tournament sessions.
Organizations working with the XL Center, City of Hartford and University of Connecticut on this major citywide effort include the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau (CTCSB), The MetroHartford Alliance, the Hartford Business Improvement District (BID), the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA), Business for Downtown Hartford, CTTransit, the Hartford Parking Authority, LAZ Parking, and Downtown restaurants, attractions, hotels, and businesses.
Limited all-session packages are still available. For more information or tournament events or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.xlcenter.com/ncaamarchmadnesshartford or call 1-877-522-8499.