Providence gets ready fro NCAA Tournament

Local Steering Committee Ready to Welcome Basketball Fans to Providence

Tournament Brings Together Tourism, Education, Civic and Law Enforcement Officials

Providence, RI – It is said that sports teach teamwork and that is certainly the case in Rhode Island, where a Steering Committee composed of representatives from the tourism, education, civic and law enforcement sectors have been working together for nearly a year to welcome the first and second rounds of the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Championships to Providence.  The event will be held at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on March 17 and 19.

“We estimate that this event will pump $3.4 million into the Rhode Island economy,” said Martha Sheridan, president and CEO of the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau (PWCVB), which is handling the hospitality-related logistics of the event through its RI Sports Commission Division.  “The bulk of fans that have already purchased tickets are from outside of Rhode Island and that’s before we even know which teams will be playing here.”

Providence College is serving as the local host team for the event, although NCAA rules prohibit them from playing on their home court, should they be selected for the tournament.

“We are thrilled to serve as host for the First and Second Rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship,” said Robert Driscoll, associate vice president and athletics director at Providence College.  “Hosting an event of this magnitude is an honor, and we take the responsibility very seriously.  We are very fortunate to have great partnerships with city and state officials, law enforcement and the PWCVB. Together, we are prepared to put on a great tournament and welcome thousands of basketball fans to our great city.”

Representatives from the PWCVB, Providence College, the City of Providence and the Providence Police Department have held a series of informational sessions for local businesses in the downtown and Federal Hill neighborhoods, detailing the schedule of activities for the week, NCAA trademark restriction, information about permitting, and other relevant information for those seeking to promote their business to fans.  About 150 people attended those events.

"This event will bring thousands of sports fans here to Providence where they can experience all that our city has to offer," said Mayor Jorge Elorza who serves as honorary co-chair of the Steering Committee with Governor Gina Raimondo. "We are excited to learn which teams will be visiting and are ready to welcome their alumni and fans for the entire tournament."

The Dunkin’ Donuts Center will host two rounds of two games each on Thursday, March 17 and one, two-game session on Saturday, March 19.  The times of those sessions – as well as which teams will be playing in Providence - will not be known until Selection Sunday, March 13.  

“Our team at the venue is looking forward to the arrival of teams and fans from across the country,” said Lawrence Lepore, general manager of the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.  “We are eager to open our doors and are confident in providing what is sure to be a memorable experience for all."

Immediately after the teams are announced, the PWCVB will launch a targeted marketing push in the cities in which those teams play, which will include press releases and social media advertising.  The PWCVB and Providence College will also be reaching out to the alumni offices from those schools with visitor information.   Once the teams and fans begin arriving, there will be visitor information stations at twelve locations, including the eight hotels in Providence and Warwick that will be hosting teams.  

A special microsite, GoProvidence.com/MarchMadness2016, will serve as an informational clearinghouse for visitors.  The NCAA has also approved the use of the hashtag #PVDHoops for social media, which locals and visitors alike are encouraged to use.  Additionally, the City of Providence will be activating its Code Red Program for the duration of the tournament, should any emergencies occur.  Those interested in receiving alerts may sign up using this link: https://www.providenceri.com/PEMA/codered .  

The Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization whose mission is to create vibrant growth for the local hospitality economy by promoting, developing, and expanding a united visitor industry.  For more information, contact 401-751-1177 or visit www.GoProvidence.com.

(release from PWCVB)