March Madness is sweeping the country, but the fever is especially pronounced in Boise. Several NCAA basketball games were held at Taco Bell Arena on Thursday and Saturday. It was the first time the City of Trees hosted the tournament since 2009.
This weekend’s games marked Boise’s ninth time hosting the tournament. From the late 80s to 2009, the March Madness circuit regularly stopped in Idaho. The NCAA took Boise out of the rotation in 2009 with a promise it would be invited back if Taco Bell Arena was upgraded.
Following improvements and a rule change by the NCAA to lower minimum seating requirements, the six tournament games held in Boise were sell outs. Around 12,000 spectators filled Taco Bell Arena for each two-game event.
NCAA president Mark Emmert attended the games in Boise and told the Statesman the venue is compact and filled with energy.
That energy, and the packed house, must have won Emmert over – March Madness will come back to the city in 2021.
Along with a lot of media attention, the event also provides an economic windfall. The Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates the tournament brings in roughly $15 million when it passes through.
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