Sweet 16 brings boost to Washington's economy

The road to Atlanta runs through the Verizon Center with Marquette and Miami tipping off in the Sweet 16 Thursday night, but the economic impact will go well beyond Northwest D.C.

“We’re here to concentrate on Marquette basketball,” says Pam Stiglitz, who is visiting from Milwaukee.

Pam and her husband, Joe, have been having a ball since connecting with a group of a few hundred Marquette fans to watch their team play at the Verizon Center in the NCAA tournament.

“We were at the Hamilton Bar and Grill last night, a nice little place. They had Guinness on tap and they treated us right, so we were all set,” says Joe.

And that’s just what D.C. tourism officials want to hear. The tournament has attracted thousands of visitors and local basketball fans who are spending money at businesses all over town.

“We are anticipating our hotels to really be busy and our restaurants being happy and a lot of people coming into the city and for us that’s what it’s all about,” says Elliot Ferguson of Destination DC.

The four teams participating in the tournament in Washington and their fans are staying in several different hotels around the city,{ } making hotel managers very happy.

“Combined with Spring Break and the NCAA tournament, we have been packed,” says Jackie Sproul.

“We’ve been taking in the sites. We went to the White House, hangingout drinking, waiting for the Hoosiers to win,” says John Brower.

John and Jake Brower arrived in town Wednesday from Indiana. Like most fans here for the tournament, they have been trying to take in as many sites and try out as many restaurants as they can.

“Traveling and spending money in a great American city like this is no problem for me,” says Jake.