Elite Eight Excitement - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Elite Eight Excitement

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A lot of excitement today, on the eve of the Elite Eight, the NCAA Women's Division Two basketball tournament. Erie is hosting the event at the Erie Insurance Arena.

 The tournament makes community outreach a priority. So the teams were busy visiting local schools today, meeting with kids, making new fans and talking about the importance of sports and academics.

 Of course the teams are also spending time practicing and getting familiar with the arena.

Planners say while the goal is a well run tournament, they also know it will be a big boost to the local economy, including hotels, restaurants and retail shops, with teams and their supporters traveling from around the nation to Erie.

 Daniel Pora, General Manager of the Bayfront Sheraton Hotel said, "We've seen a 20% increase in room nights this week. We anticipate more as the tournament goes on."

 John Oliver of VisitErie said, "I think directly to the local economy we are estimating somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 million in spending and impact to the community."

Organizers say it was a big community effort that brought the tournament to Erie, with the facelift of the Erie Insurance Arena a major factor in winning the bid.

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