SAN ANTONIO – In just a couple of weeks, visitors will begin arriving in San Antonio for the 2021 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. The Alamodome will look quite different than it did in 2010, the last time San Antonio hosted the event as pandemic has cut the size of the event way down.
“The number of visitors, in this case, is very restricted. For example, the team travel party gets six tickets for friends and family,” said Dr. Steve Nivin, chief economist of the SABER Research Institute.
Nivin, also an Associate Professor of Economics at St. Mary’s University, prepared a report that was released on Monday by the San Antonio Local Organizing Committee (SALOC). It showed visitors are expected to spend about $27.2 million during the event and predicted an influx of 35,000 hotel room nights and more than 15,000 visitors.
Nivin pointed out that while those numbers are a fraction of what they could have been without a pandemic, the current protocols brought a silver lining.
Keeping travel at a minimum means that, for the first time ever, the entire tournament will be confined to the San Antonio region, not just a Final Four game.
“All 64 teams are coming to San Antonio, and at least 4 of them will be the entire time,” Nivin said.
Teams start arriving on March 16, and 63 games will be played overall.
The first round of the tournament will be held at five venues, including the Alamodome, the University of Texas at San Antonio, St. Mary’s University, the University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University.
Attendance will be limited to team players, staff members and guests. Still, the accommodations are set mainly in the Alamo City.
The NCAA released the following statement:
“Marriott properties, an official NCAA corporate partner, will house most of the tournament teams in downtown San Antonio. All teams will be housed on dedicated hotel floors, with physically distanced meeting and dining rooms. Hotel properties are within close proximity to the practice courts in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Secure transportation will be provided to and from competition venues.”
Even a toned-down flurry of activity is much needed positive news for San Antonio’s pandemic-riddled tourism industry.