An estimated 90,000 attendees are expected to watch the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships today through Saturday. And with so many eyes on the city, the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau wants to springboard the success of this weekend's event to bring in more.
"There are 69 NCAA championship events," said Greg Edwards, president and CEO of the tourism group. "Putting on a good show and doing well puts us in the position to capture more championships in the future, particularly the first and second regional rounds of the NCAA men's basketball championship."
A 2012 Business Record article detailing the convention and visitors bureau's efforts reported that these types of events leave behind a big footprint on the area. In 2011, Greater Des Moines hosted 420 events, which had an estimated economic impact of $45 million. Since 2000, the tourism group estimates that sporting events have had a $200 million economic impact in Des Moines.
The construction of Wells Fargo Arena in 2005 and the $15 million expansion of Drake Stadium in 2006 have helped the recent boom.
Des Moines has hosted a high-profile track meet at Drake University every year since the 2006 expansion and is set to host the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships again in 2013 after a successful run in 2010. And last year, the city was able to snag the regional rounds of the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship.
"The NCAA has enjoyed working with us in the past," Edwards said. "I think we are a viable city to host (men's basketball) in the future."
The convention and visitors bureau has not yet estimated an economic impact for this weekend's event, but the St. Louis Business Journal reported an influx of $14.7 million to St. Louis when the championships took place there last year.