CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – After being canceled due to the pandemic in 2020, ‘The Basketball Tournament’ was able to finally make it’s way to the Capital City and create more business for local business owners.
“The fans have really come out this week, it’s been really good,” said Kevin Madison, general manager of the Black Sheep in Charleston. “This weekend we saw several people from in Charleston here for the game, many people out of state, out of town, they all came in they packed the place.”
The city of Charleston was chosen as one of cities for the regional ‘The Basketball Tournament’ (TBT) in 2020 but due to the COVID-19, it was canceled.
“We were supposed to host this in 2020 and obviously because of COVID the event was canceled,” said President of the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), Tim Brady. “We didn’t really lose money but we didn’t get the opportunity to make money.”
Brady said TBT stayed committed to Charleston through COVID and into 2021.
“It’s about the basketball, but for us at the CVB and the city, it’s about seeing all these people that we know are in town for this event, they’re out spending money at our locally owned businesses in our community and that’s why we bring these events in.”
Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango said the benefits aren’t just limited to the city when major events are brought to the Capital City.
“We’re looking at about a $5 million economic impact, it might be a little bit more, but the hotels and restaurants are benefiting,” said Salango.
“Every time we bring in a tournament, every time the city of Charleston brings in a tournament that’s heads in beds, that’s people at restaurants that’s people shopping downtown and folks going out to Corridor G to South Ridge, it really benefits the entire community (and) county.”
Salango said the Shawnee Sports Complex will also be seeing some major events in the near future that will help keep the revenue coming.
“Every time the City of Charleston or Kanawha County or Shawnee Sports Complex hosts one of these events, it shows that we can compete on a national stage.”
Businesses were drastically hit in the year 2020, with some still not back on their feet quite yet, but officials are hoping it only goes up from here.
“A lot of businesses are making up revenue that they lost last year,” said Madison. “But if things continue in Charleston the way they are right now, I think everyone is going to benefit in the future.”
Brady said they will not have exact totals for revenue until after this week.
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