You are a citizen and resident of Wake County who did not attend one of the eight institutions of higher education represented in the NCAA tournament currently underway at the PNC Arena. The traffic generated Thursday afternoon when the afternoon session let out at rush hour raised your blood pressure. Why do we have to endure this nuisance every couple of years!
A peek behind the curtain reveals the boon such events are for Raleigh and for all of Wake County. Those eight teams arrive with not just the roughly 25 players, coaches and managers comprising the team, but also with cheer squad, pep band, university officials, and fans. At a bare minimum, they take up residence in and fill eight hotels, though with the media contingent, the NCAA staff and representatives, and others, the reality is that they fill many of the hotels in the area. They usually arrive a full day before their game and may well have much of two days to explore our neighborhood, shop in our stores, visit our museums, and eat in our restaurants. Statistics from 2014 show that this event alone brought more than 17,000 visitors to the area and they spent over $4.2 million. That is in addition to the local fan base which comes out for the games, eats out and otherwise expend funds with local merchants.
Cheer for your team. Cheer against your rivals. But most of all, cheer for the tourism created by these events. We should love folks who come to visit, spend their money here and then go home. Think about it and become a cheerful host.