Dribbling For Dollars: Reno's Big Sky Tournament - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Dribbling For Dollars: Reno's Big Sky Tournament

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Reno scored a big tourist prize this week. In the hunt for more visiting spenders to boost tourism, college basketball players are the new heroes. The Big Sky Conference is drawing thousands of visitors this week to see the games at the Reno Events Center.

The games start at noon, and they don't take the weekend off…six days of fast breaks and free throws. Sports tournaments and Reno go together like backboards and bank shots. As the tournament’s Jon Oglesby put it, "The synergy that you get of the hotels being so close and fans being able to mingle, close to the arena and then walk over...its outstanding."

3,500 visitors, 5,000 room nights. Yes Reno has hosted sports championships before, like the bowlers…but this is a bonus for us. There was a big battle to be host city. Oglesby runs through the cities that really wanted to take that title: "Billings, Montana was really interested. Ogden, Utah and Missoula, Montana. It was a year-long process. There were several cities that there were site tours.”

The Big Sky Tournament is usually hosted by the city that wins the year before. This time, who got to host was open to all. The RSCVA’s Ben McDonald says, "For us to be able to bring this in, a Division 1 basketball tournament is definitely significant."

Outside the Eldorado it wasn’t hard to find fans wearing team shirts and jackets. Ralph Fredrickson is from Ogden, Utah…here to cheer on Weber State. "I've been hooked on sports my whole life." Next to him, his brother Joel thinks he has Ralph beat: “I’ve got some pom-poms and some little megaphones and stuff, just going to make some noise."

It’s a very big deal to the Fredricksons, here to see their team in double dribble glory. They give a high score to Reno. All the fans, friends and family who come add up to an estimated $3.5 million spent in town. But even that may be modest. The RSCVA’s McDonald thinks sports fans may spend even more: "I think you can go to any stadium in the country and you'll see plenty of memorabilia. Sports fans definitely like to spend money on that and they like to have a good time."

Ralph Fredrickson certainly does: "Weber State's gonna kick butt!. Sorry if I didn't mean to say that.” Ralph has never been to Reno before, but says he's coming back. So is Joel. For folks like them, the Events Center this is a palace...in a very welcoming town.

The Big Sky Conference men’s and women’s basketball teams are battling for berths in the NCAA tournaments during the conference basketball championships. You can find schedules and tickets at the link below:

roadtoreno.com

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