Nebraska high school basketball tourney brings money to Lincoln

By Jacob Bryant, NewsNetNebraska

“It’s crazy down here. There are so many people.”

That sentence has been said numerous times during the course of the Nebraska high school basketball tournaments the last two weeks. With the movement of the main venue of the tournaments to the new Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln has seen more people coming in for the tournament.

_MG_9226Jeff Maul, executive director of Lincoln’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the tournament has brought in a good amount of money this year. From a study by the University of Nebraska Bureau of  Business, Maul had estimates on what the tournament was doing, economically, for the city.

“Between the girls and boys basketball championships, the estimated economic impact combined will be upwards of $5.5 to $6 million dollars,” Maul said.

Meeting the challenge

Before the construction of the Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln was in danger of losing the state basketball tournament. There had been talks for a few years that the tournament would move to Omaha, where there was a better venue for the games to be played.

Aside from the Pinnacle Bank Arena, the upgrade to the Haymarket area and construction of new businesses has made the whole state tournament experience a much stronger one for all involved.

Roland Morgan, manager of the Hilton Garden Inn in the Haymarket, said things get crazy but it is well worth it.

“It’s busy,” Morgan said. “If you can handle Husker football weekends you can handle about anything.”_MG_9265

Morgan went on to say that the hotel has been seeing good numbers through the girls basketball tournament last week and the boys tournament currently going on this week.

“Girls state was a great flow of guests that came through and boys state is probably even more,” Morgan said. “We were nearly full last week and we are full this week.”

Morgan, who has worked at other hotels before, said that the boys basketball tournament tends to always be a city-wide sell out. Even the hotels on the outskirts of town saw great numbers.

New construction, new revenue, big impact

“That was before Pinnacle Bank Arena though,” Morgan said. “If you look at last year and the year before, the Pinnacle Bank Arena has changed everything and we are right in the middle of it.”

According to Morgan, the entire Haymarket area is succeeding in keeping people in the area rather than heading out to other parts of town.

_MG_9272 “I think things have moved back down to the Haymarket,” Morgan said. “If you can get here, this is the place to be.”

Location is key when it comes to successful businesses and Morgan believes that is why the Pinnacle Bank Arena and the Haymarket area as a whole are thriving.

“You don’t have to touch your car for the next three days,” Morgan said. “You can go out to the arena, you can walk to Memorial Stadium, you’ve got forty restaurants here at your fingertips. It’s nice and convenient. Location is key.”

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