SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - For the second year in a row, big time Division One basketball is coming to Springfield, but the entire Pioneer Valley is expected to benefit.
The Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau staged a "pre-tournament pep rally" Wednesday night at Pizzeria UNO in Springfield. The purpose of the pep-rally was to get the hospitality community excited about welcoming the 20,000 or so visitors coming to spend time and money here when they visit a "family friendly" Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference . Mens and womens basketball teams from ten schools make up The "MAAC."
Greater Springfield Convention And Visitors Bureau President, Mary Kay Wydra told 22News that the Pioneer valley's entire business community benefits, "They stay in the hotels throughout the region. They eat in our restaurants. They shop. The visit the Hall of Fame and other local attractions. So it means big business for the region."
All of the MAAC games will be played at the MassMutual Center from March 7 through March 11. They're planning family-oriented inter-active events at a fanfest that will take place a the MassMutual Center Saturday and Sunday.
"Last year started the tradition of "The Bounce to the Arena," which is a great event. A parade of families, young kids and families bouncing basketballs from the Hall of Fame to the MassMutual Center coming right into the "FanFest," said MassMutual Center General Manager Matt Hollander.
Hollander told 22News there are still tickets available with some going as low as $10.00. Part of the proceeds from the ticket sales are going to the Jimmy Fund and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute .
This is the second year of Springfield's three-year commitment to host the MAAC.