SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Though San Diego State's men's basketball team has been eliminated from March Madness, games continue at Viejas Arena. The university is serving as one of the hosts of the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament, with eight teams competing in San Diego.
“It’s very exciting. San Diego State worked really hard to lobby to get this tournament here," said Carl Winston, Director of SDSU's School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. "It’s something that was undertaken years ago, the effort to bring it out here.”
Sports San Diego, the new commission which works to bring increased sports tourism to the market, estimates that all of the teams, staff, administrators, families, and fans traveling to the city for March Madness will fill around 10,000 hotel room nights, which could have as much as a $10 million economic impact on the region.
“Everybody’s going to be really busy. The Gaslamp is going to be busy, the hotels all over San Diego, Mission Valley, Downtown are going to be just full of tourists. That means SeaWorld the Zoo, all the touristic things," Winston said.
Besides all the hotel rooms, each of the schools is hosting events at bars and restaurants around San Diego. "March Madness is always pretty good for us anyway, but to physically have it here is kicking it up another level for us," said bar owner Matt Guilbert. His Bottle Rocket Bar & Grill in the East Village is hosting multiple parties for the University of Arizona Alumni Association.
Viejas Arena is hosting four games Friday, with two more Sunday. The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is next scheduled to be played in San Diego in 2026.