GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – That recent spate of sports events that overtook Tournament Town and sometimes clogged the traffic delivered a huge victory in dollars and sense.

The Greensboro Coliseum Complex brought in hundreds of thousands of fans – significant increases from 2022’s events – and millions of dollars in economic impact with a variety of events during the past month.

Kansas State guard Markquis Nowell (1) works against Kentucky forward Oscar Tshiebwe (34) during K-State’s victory Sunday in Greensboro. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Would you believe more than 200,000 basketball fans attended three weeks’ worth of tournaments in the coliseum?

And would you believe that those events – plus a couple of swimming competitions at the Greensboro Aquatic Center next door – delivered about $33.5 million of economic impact to the region?

That’s the sense of success that we learned today from information provided by the Greensboro Coliseum Complex and the Guilford County Tourism and Visitors Bureau.

That run of events began with the ACC Swimming & Diving Championships in February and concluded on Sunday when the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament’s third and final session ended with Kansas State and Xavier advancing to the Sweet 16.

The NCAA tourney’s three sessions – doubleheaders Friday afternoon, Friday night and Sunday afternoon – attracted 49,808 (or slightly more than 16,600 each), coliseum spokesperson Andrew Brown told WGHP in an email.

Those totals were highlighted by a heavy contingent of fans who follow the University of Kentucky and proved an 8.5% uptick from first- and second-round matchups at eight sites in the 2022 tourney, the nearest of which was staged in Greenville, South Carolina. Those 24 sessions averaged about 15,304 fans.

Brown said NCAA fans generated nearly $5 million – $4,991,603.22, to be exact – for those two days of action.

All of this good news was a big reprieve from those awful cancellations and restrictions brought in 2020 by COVID-19, which seemed to take formal control of our world in the Greensboro Coliseum as well.

Healthy ACC events

Greensboro Coliseum is mostly empty after the NCAA college basketball games were canceled at the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in Greensboro on March 12, 2020. (AP File Photo/Gerry Broome)

You may recall that the ACC men’s tournament was in its second day in Greensboro when then-Commissioner John Swofford took to the court amid player warmups to announce that the spread of the virus was causing the tournament to be canceled. The NCAA was supposed to play here the next week, but no.

Return with us to the 2023 men’s ACC tourney in Greensboro. Attendance drivers North Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest all lost in the quarterfinals – on the second day – but the event still drew just a tad less than half of all the fans who attended three tournaments in the city: 99,600 (or more than 14,000 for each of its seven sessions).

That’s up from 83,093 – 11,870 per session – for the 2022 event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Those figures ranked fourth for total (behind the Big Ten, SEC and Big East) and fifth for average (the Big 12 had more for fewer sessions).

Duke players and coaches pose with the trophy after beating Virginia in the ACC final. on March 11. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Still, that was nearly 20% more fans (2,400) per session in Greensboro than in Brooklyn, and those crowds brought a whopping $13.608 million in impact.

The ACC women’s tournament, in its 23rd consecutive year in Greensboro, also drew 62,452 for seven sessions – that’s nearly 9,000 per session – which Brown said was the highest total since 2010 and brought in more than $7.4 million of its own. And like the men, this was even though North Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest also lost in the quarterfinals. Duke made the men’s final and the women’s semis.

Vanessa de Jesus of Duke dives for a loose ball against Kayana Traylor of Virginia Tech during their semifinal game of the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)

More good news

But that wasn’t the end of the good news. The city was swimming in success.

There are no attendance figures available, but the 12-school ACC Swimming and Diving Championships in mid-February at the GAC – won by the Virginia women and N.C. State men – brought in nearly $4 million in revenue for the city.

And coincidental to the NCAA basketball, the NCAA Division III staged its swimming and diving next door. Emory University men and Dennison University women won the titles, and Greensboro won the week, taking in another $3.5 million.

The events

Here’s how those events compared:

Event                                     Attendance               Impact

ACC swimming                      N/A                        $3,963,872.89

ACC women BKB                 62,452                      $7,387,862.54

ACC men BKB                      99,600                     $13,608,000.59

NCAA-III swimming                 N/A                      $3,526,303.53

NCAA men BKB                  49,808                      $4,991,603.22

TOTAL                                                               $33,477,642.77