SPOKANE -- There is no economic downturn at the USA Volleyball Pacific Northwest Qualifier (PNQ) this year! March Madness has hit Spokane as the city welcomes 433 volleyball teams from across the United States.
Family members, fans, and university scouts will add to the approximate 6,000 people participating in the two weekend tournament, March 19-21 and 26-28. Overall, 67 more teams have registered compared to 2009.
The tournament is being held in three locations this year; Eastern Washington University, the Spokane Convention Center Group Health Exhibit Hall, and the HUB Sports Center (second weekend only).
The Spokane Regional Sports Commission estimates that the PNQ will generate approximately $4 million in economic impact, and over 8,000 hotel room stays.
The PNQ will welcome girls' teams ages 12 to 18, with each team vying for a spot at the USA Volleyball Junior Olympics in April. Thirty-seven teams from Spokane will be amongst those competing. Matches start each weekend Friday and Saturday from 8:00 am until 9:00 pm, and Sunday 8:00 am until 3:00 pm. Admission is free.
"We could not believe the numbers we had when we closed registration," says April Stark, PNQ Event Director. "This will be the largest tournament to date, and that is surprising considering the economy."
The first weekend of PNQ will coincide with the NCAA DI Men's Basketball 1st and 2nd Round Tournament, March 19th and March 21st at the Spokane Arena. Expect sports fans to flood the city, and hotels to be full. The total economic impact of both events will be around $7 million.
PNQ Fast Facts:
- 433 Teams (366 in 2009, average 15 athletes & coaches per team)
- Estimated 6,000 guests in town for up to 3 nights
- Estimated 8,000 room nights generated
- Est. Economic Impact: $4 million