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Letter: Region is already reaping benefits of sports tourism

Region is already reaping benefits of sports tourism

Rod Watson badly missed the mark in his column of March 16. Sports tourism is one of our region’s unequivocal success stories, a cornerstone of Erie County’s $1.7 billion tourism economy. Watson asked whether sports tourists will come back, when the answer could be seen walking around right outside his window at One News Plaza. Thousands of fans filled the city’s hotels, restaurants and bars, leaving behind $8 million in expenditures, because the NCAA saw fit to hold the first and second rounds of its men’s basketball tournament in Buffalo for the sixth time in the last 17 years. This should be cause for accolades and congratulations for the many parties that have made this success possible.

In making Buffalo a regular stop for March Madness, the region has established itself as an amateur sports mecca, with each successful event enhancing our reputation for great facilities, supportive organizing committees, helpful local governments and passionate fans. Athletic competitions ranging from swimming to sled hockey to soccer routinely visit Buffalo. The remainder of this year will see such high-profile events as the Gaelic Games and the World Junior Hockey Championships held in our community – and even more out-of-town dollars left behind. The residual economic benefit of hosting these events is powerful and long lasting. Buffalo, take a bow.

Patrick Kaler

President and CEO

Visit Buffalo Niagara

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