NCAA Championship Season Means Big Business for Pittsburgh

NCAA Championship Events Hosted in Pittsburgh Over the Last Four Years Generated More Than $38M in Direct Visitor Spending

PITTSBURGH – November is near, and for college campuses across the country that means one thing – the dawn of a new NCAA Championship season. Stadiums and arenas will soon be packed with passionate fans cheering their teams on to new titles and trophies. And for the Pittsburgh region, the NCAA Championship season brings with it new opportunities to crown deserving champions in the City of Champions.

Thanks to the collaborative work of the Pittsburgh Local Organizing Committee, NCAA events have found a welcoming home in Pittsburgh. The region recently completed it most successful cycle of NCAA event bids, hosting 16 preliminary and championship events from Nov. 2018 through March 2022. Those events drew more than 69,000 unique event attendees, producing just over $38 million in direct visitor spending.

“Pittsburgh has staked its claim as an iconic sports destination for student-athletes, coaches and fans. Thanks to the hard work and collaboration of the 20 host institutions and venues that made up the Pittsburgh Local Organizing Committee, the NCAA continues to trust our region to host its events,” SportsPITTSBURGH Executive Director Jennifer Hawkins said. “We’re coming off an extremely successful four-year cycle where we welcomed 56 collegiate teams – more than 2,600 total student-athletes – to Pittsburgh. Collectively, our region provided these teams and their fans with life-long memories. In return, Pittsburgh’s local businesses received a direct financial boost. This financial impact was especially important in 2021 and 2022 and aided our community through a particularly difficult time.”

In total, nine host institutions and two athletic conferences helped produce 16 events, which utilized nine different venues within the Pittsburgh region. Most recently, the 2022 Division I Men’s Basketball First and Second Rounds and Division III Women’s Basketball Championship generating $10.6 million in direct visitor spending during the Ultimate NCAA Basketball Weekend in Pittsburgh in March.

The 2019 NCAA Men’s Wrestling Championships produced the strongest economic impact for the Pittsburgh community, as the event generated $12.98 million in direct visitor spending.

Many of the NCAA preliminary and championship events hosted by Pittsburgh during the last four-year cycle incorporated a community outreach initiative that impacted multiple local community groups including Special Olympics of Western PA and SisterFriend, INC., a nonprofit dedicated to providing menstrual hygiene products to the region’s homeless and underprivileged population.

Pittsburgh was awarded 11 events for the 2022-26 NCAA cycle, and the Pittsburgh LOC is preparing to play host to three events over the next six months, including:

2022 Division III Women’s Volleyball Championship

  • Dates: Nov. 16-19, 2022
  • Hosts: Saint Vincent College, SportsPITTSBURGH
  • Location: UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse
  • Estimated Attendance: 1,500

2023 National Collegiate Women’s Gymnastics Regional Championships

  • Dates: March 30 – April 2, 2023 (tentative)
  • Hosts: University of Pittsburgh, SportsPITTSBURGH
  • Location: Petersen Events Center
  • Estimated Attendance: 4,000

2023 National Collegiate Women’s Bowling Regional Championships

  • Dates: April 7-8, 2023 (tentative)
  • Hosts: Duquesne University, SportsPITTSBURGH
  • Location: AMF Mt. Lebanon Lanes
  • Estimated Attendance: Nearly 300

As the sports development division of VisitPITTSBURGH, SportsPITTSBURGH’s primary goal is to attract and host a wide variety of sporting events while providing planners and local stakeholders with the expertise and professionalism required to host a world-class event in the Pittsburgh region.