March Madness Brings Boost To Hutchinson’s Economy

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

It’s basketball tournament time and 16 Kansas high schools are bringing their fans and their wallets to Hutch for the 3-A State Championships. The bigger economic impact begins next week when the National JUCO tournament begins.

Teams and their fans from 3-A high school communities in Kansas are visiting Hutchinson to see their teams compete. While some may live close enough to not need a hotel, chances are those people are eating, topping off their tanks, shopping or celebrating before returning home.

“March is usually our busiest month of the year with the state tournament going on, the JUCO tournament going on, KU basketball, hopefully K-State basketball or Wichita State. That brings people in from out of town, and local people,” said Tom Mule, owner of the Polo Sports Lounge in Hutchinson.

Rayne Templeton has been managing Hutchinson hotels for 13 years. At tournament time, the rooms generally fill up quickly. Templeton isn’t expecting anything different, even with the current economic recession.

"I think it's going to be the same as every other year. We have teams that have rooms. We have fans that are coming to watch the games. People are loyal. They want to see their games and I haven't noticed a bit of change from this year to any of the years prior,” said Templeton.

There's a lot of optimism among the players on the court and optimism among businesses who hope that their fans continue to deposit money into the local economy.

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