NCAA March Madness expected to have $6.5 million economic impact on Milwaukee

Games at Fiserv Forum tip-off Friday afternoon

A packed Bucks game at Fiserv Forum.

Last updated on March 15th, 2022 at 09:17 pm

More than 18,000 college basketball fans will descend upon Milwaukee later this week for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Set for March 18 and 20 at Fiserv Forum, the event is expected to have a $6.5 million economic impact on the area, according to VISIT Milwaukee. As of Monday, the tourism bureau had so far blocked 5,000 hotel room nights for the tournament.

Many of the estimated 18,000 attendees will likely be cheering on the Wisconsin Badgers, who tip off against the Colgate Raiders at 8:50 p.m. on Friday. The game will be telecast on TBS.

Earlier matchups Friday include the Yale Bulldogs vs. the Purdue Boilermakers at 1 p.m., the Virginia Tech Hokies vs. the Texas Longhorns at 3:30 p.m., and the Iowa State Cyclones vs. the Louisiana State University Tigers at 6:20 p.m. The winners of Friday’s games will play on Sunday, March 20 at Fiserv Forum.

On Thursday, each of the eight teams will have a 40-minute practice session that is free and open to the public. The NCAA today announced the following practice schedule: 

  • Yale, 11 – 11:40 a.m.
  • Virginia Tech, 11:45 a.m. – 12:25 p.m.
  • Purdue, 12:30 – 1:10 p.m.
  • Texas, 1:15 – 1:55 p.m.
  • LSU, 3:25 – 4:05 p.m.
  • Wisconsin, 4:10 – 4:50 p.m.
  • Iowa State, 4:55 – 5:35 p.m.
  • Colgate, 5:40 – 6:20 p.m.

Tickets are not required to attend the open practice sessions, and fans can come at any time. Parking is available at parking structures on North 5th Street and Highland Street for $5 a vehicle. Doors open at 10 a.m.

“We’re delighted to welcome the 2022 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship to Fiserv Forum,” said Peter Feigin, president of the Milwaukee Bucks and Fiserv Forum. “While we anticipate two days of exciting basketball games, we are also thrilled for the community to experience the free open practice sessions that will tip-off March Madness in Milwaukee.”

March Madness is the latest high-profile sporting event to come to Milwaukee and the second time in five years that the city has hosted the tournament, most recently in 2017 at the Bradley Center. The next time Fiserv Forum will host the NCAA tournament is 2025.

Marissa Werner, director of VISIT’s Sports Milwaukee division, called the event a “huge win” for Milwaukee as well as Marquette University, who helped bid on the tournament with the Milwaukee Bucks. The Golden Eagles also made the cut this year, and will play in Fort Worth, Texas on Thursday against the University of North Carolina.

“Wisconsin sports is having a major moment right now, from the Milwaukee Bucks’ championship win last year to both the Badgers and Golden Eagles now taking part in the big dance this year,” said Werner.

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Maredithe has covered retail, restaurants, entertainment and tourism since 2018. Her duties as associate editor include copy editing, page proofing and managing work flow. Meyer earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University and still enjoys attending men’s basketball games to cheer on the Golden Eagles. Also in her free time, Meyer coaches high school field hockey and loves trying out new restaurants in Milwaukee.

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