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NCAA wrestling tournament leads to increase in tourism and economic impact in Kansas City

T-Mobile Center hosts NCAA wrestling tournament for the first time
Posted at 6:00 AM, Mar 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-22 09:36:48-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo — Kansas City is once again under the spotlight, hosting its first ever NCAA wrestling tournament at the T-Mobile Center.

"Every single year something unexpected is going to happen, guys that aren't supposed to win or gonna win, teams are going to have upsets it's everything that everyone loves about basketball, it's madness," said Jordan Hildreth, an Iowa University fan.

Hildreth is among the many wrestling fans who drove to the City of Fountains to catch the big tournament, others like John Hughes decided to fly to Kansas City.

Hughes is a former wrestler and die-hard Arizona State fan who made plans far in advance to make it to the heart of America.

"It's true March Madness and I don't want to hurt other restaurant feelings but bbq is excellent here," said Hughes.

Due to the influx of fans, hotels all across Kansas City are in high demand. Many of them like Hotel Kansas Cityare completely sold out. Hotel KC says reservations for this tournament came in as early as February 2023.

"It's a different type of demand though people people want to be out people want to be traveling, they want to stay at the best hotel in Kansas City," said Sara DeVault, Director of Sales and Marketing for Hotel Kansas City.

Visit KC anticipates hotel occupancy in the Central Business District to surpass 90% over the course of the event. Some hotel rooms can still be found- but you’ll pay a premium for them.

The Hotel and Lodging Association of Greater Kansas City and the Kansas City Sports Commission estimate the city will see a $20.4 million economic impact.

"Higher hotel rates, more occupancy means more business for our restaurants and local attractions, which ultimately benefits our residents and spurs growth in our local economy," explained, Andrea O'Hara, Executive Director of the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Kansas City. "Last year was a great year for the hotel industry in Kansas City. Across the metro we saw an increase in occupancy or average daily rates and demand."

As this tournament takes KC by storm, hotels are now looking forward to the future.

"We were told that this is going to bring in more people than any other tournament for the city, so this is kind of our prep for World Cup in 2026," said DeVault.