SPOKANE, Wash. – The first round of games at the 2016 Washington Middle School Basketball Championship began Friday.
The three-day tournament has been going on for three years, but this year marks the first time it has been held in the Convention Center. It is also the first time so many basketball courts have been under one roof in the state of Washington.
To prepare, crews worked tirelessly setting up 12 courts.
“Our event has grown, from in year one, two years ago, from 122 teams to almost 250 this year. And to be able to fit all the teams coming from such great distances, we rented these portable floors that were trucked in from Salt Lake City,” said Tournament Director Bill Reinking.
The Convention Center was packed with 250 teams that came to Spokane to compete for the title.
The tournament is one of five sporting events that is expected to boost Spokane’s economy by about $12 million.
“With 250 teams times 10 players per team, we’re talking 2500 athletes and with their family members, over 10,000 people,” said Reinking.
That means 10,000 people will frequent local businesses, hotels and restaurants, giving a boost to the local economy.
The tournament runs through Sunday and tickets are just $10. Games are also being played at three other locations, but the championship games will be held at the Convention Center on Sunday morning.
Events like this also have the potential to help Spokane grow in the future. Sports Tourism like this helps leave a lasting impression on young people who may one day decide to live and work in Spokane.