WIAA tourney brings millions of dollars to Madison

Longtime Wisconsin assistant Gary Close leaves Badgers

This March marks the 100th year the WIAA state tournament has been held in Madison – and along with the tens of thousands of people it brings to city streets comes the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent at city businesses.

An average WIAA weekend brings in $6 million in total spending inside Madison, according to Deb Archer of the Madison Area Sports Commission.

“Hotels, restaurants, retails – gas stations, grocery stores, liquor stores – it’s amazing who it all touches,” she says.

More than 82,000 tickets are sold for games at the Kohl Center – and more than 6,000 cars park around the venue, bringing in $30,000 for UW Transportation Services. Tony Hansbro, a supervisor for the department, says every parking lot fills up in just minutes before a game.

Archer says aside from the millions of dollars Madison makes from the March weekend, there are also indirect benefits. Potential future students and their families get to see the UW-Madison campus and visit the Kohl Center, an added bonus to the money they spend in the city over the weekend.

Those benefits will stick around for at least a couple more years, if not 100 more. The WIAA tournament’s contract with Madison runs through 2020.