In what has become, for us, an annual editorial tradition, we again this year welcome teams and fans to Sioux City for our local version of "March madness," the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball Championship.
The city's signature entertainment venue, the Tyson Events Center, will host the tournament's 20th consecutive visit to our community. Games begin this morning.
Through the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball Championship each March, the NAIA Volleyball National Championship each December and, for two years, the NAIA Softball World Series, Sioux City and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics have formed a strong relationship we hope continues to flourish because these events have become anticipated highlights of our local calendar and have provided both direct and indirect benefits for our community.
The Women's Basketball Championship has produced a metro economic boost of some $300 million since the tournament first was played in Sioux City in 1998, Erika Newton, the city's Events and Facilities Department executive director, said for a story in Tuesday's Journal. Last year, some 35,000 players, coaches and spectators attended.
"We are projecting about $17 million for economic impact for 2017," Newton told The Journal's Ty Rushing.
Less tangible than direct economic impact, but important nonetheless, is the invaluable opportunity the tournament affords our city to impress tournament guests - this year representing 15 states, from Oregon to Florida.
As we do each year, we applaud the tireless efforts of Tyson staff, sponsors and volunteers who combine to produce a first-rate experience for tournament participants and ticketholders. Because of them, we anticipate nothing short of another well-managed, well-attended, exciting run to the championship game again this year.
We will see you at the Tyson.