IHSAA Girls Basketball State Finals Attendance Down 25%, Officials Still Pleased

By John W. Davis

March 7, 2011 Updated Mar 7, 2011 at 11:21 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Officials said it was a success for the second straight year.

However, attendance numbers at IHSAA Girls Basketball State Finals, which was held last weekend at the Memorial Coliseum, were down about 25% compared to last year.

In 2010, more than 12,000 people packed the stands.

In 2011, attendance numbers were down to 8,000 spectators.

"From the tourist point, there's a lot of people who came in from outside the community," said Visit Fort Wayne President Dan O'Connell.

Officials believed numbers were partly down because three of the eight teams were from Southern Indiana.

One team was from Vincennes which is 4.5 hours away.

Another team was from Evansville which is 5.5 hours away.

Another team was from Jeffersonville which is 3.5 hours away from Fort Wayne.

Meanwhile, Bishop Luers was the only local team in the finals this year.

Last year, Bishop Luers, Canterbury, and Concordia all played for IHSAA basketball championships.

"About 7,000 people (where from out of town) who came to this tournament so that's really wonderful for us. We think the higher number was a lot of local people going last year because of our three high school teams," continued O'Connell.

O'Connell estimated that the Girls Basketball State Finals made an economic impact of at least $250,000.

"Sports tourism brings in over 180,000 people (to Fort Wayne) a year. It's worth $15 to $16 million dollars in just tournaments that are held in Fort Wayne in one year. Having the pinnacle achievement in Girls Basketball by hosting a state tournament is really an honor an we hope to have it again in 2012," explained O'Connell.

Another reason for fewer spectators, the IHSAA broadcast all of the games across the state, on local television.

That made it extremely easy for fans to avoid driving and watch the game from home.


Memorial Coliseum General Manager Randy Brown said the Memorial Coliseum is definitely in the running to host the 2012 IHSAA Girls Basketball State Finals.

If the Memorial Coliseum is awarded the Girls Basketball State Finals in 2012, that would be the third straight year Fort Wayne has hosted the prestigious championships.


Meanwhile, the Memorial Coliseum will not host the Boys Basketball State Finals anytime soon.

However, Coliseum General Manager Randy Brown told Indiana's Newscenter about an idea to create a Boys Basketball Super Semi-State at the Memorial Coliseum.

Brown explained it would be a full day of the Semi-State playoff round of basketball.

Brown said people would be hanging from the rafters, if the IHSAA approved the proposal.

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