Basketball taking over KC in March with Big 12, NAIA and NCAA tournaments in town

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- College basketball is keeping Kansas City busy this month.

The Big 12 Tournament just wrapped up last week, and the Midwest Regional of the NCAA Tournament takes over the Sprint Center next week. Plus, there are already dozens of teams in town right now for the NAIA Tournament at Municipal Auditorium.

Altogether, it's a total of 66 collegiate basketball games in KC throughout March.

City leaders say the March Madness games at the Sprint Center sold out in a record 32 seconds when tickets went on sale last fall.

Kathy Nelson, president of the Kansas City Sports Commission, said all these tournaments have placed Kansas City in the national spotlight, quickly making it a basketball capital in the U.S.

"We are sold out. It doesn't matter who is playing here. We sold out in a record-breaking 32 seconds when tickets went on sale last fall. So for us, it is the hardest ticket to get," she said.

That means a lot of people from out-of-town will be spending time in KC, and many of them come for the game and stay to explore.

"We will have first-time visitors in town (and) people that may have been here before," said Tony Alexander with Visit KC. "We are just excited to be able to showcase our city, so that they can see it is vibrant, beautiful. There's lots of things to do when you're in between games."

Visit KC said the tournaments will have a $10.6 million economic impact on Kansas City.

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