Lessons learned from NCAA Tournament in 2018 to help when it returns in 2021


The NCAA Tournament in Wichita has come and gone, but it won’t be gone for long.

The first two rounds of the 2021 NCAA Tournament are set to played at Intrust Bank Arena.

The madness might be over, but area businesses are still decompressing from a week chalked full of events.

“Overwhelming, I mean it was just awesome, it was a wonderful experience, I’m so glad we were able to be such a huge part of,” said Brandy Zogelman, Co-Owner of Brick & Mortar.

For Zogelman, the tournament’s first appearance in Wichita since 1994 proved to be educational.

“We learned that we need more wristbands for next time, we, between the entire week, we killed over 25,000 wristbands,” said Zogelman.

Christine Allen, the General Manager for the Hotel at Waterwalk, says it was hard what to expect before the tourney came to town.  Now, that it is over, it definitely provided some lessons for next time.

“We would probably do things a little bit different next time, with our rate, and our availability and what we are going to take,” said Allen.

While it has been just two days since the NCAA Tournament wrapped up in Wichita, those who oversaw the operations of the event already know a few things they can do better.

“One of the things we learned on the first day of open practice was as the media pulled up, just having a drop lane for them to drop off equipment,” said Brad Pittman, Associate Athletic Director for Wichita State University.

Pittman served as the Tournament Director for the event in Wichita.

“If I had an opportunity to make a change, I would probably make a couple staffing changes, kind of flip roles or tweak roles a little bit,” said Pittman.

Pittman says having the tourney again in three years does provide some challenges.

“It’s just the overall atmosphere, how do you replicate that success, the first time you do something, there is always that excitement level, the second time, it becomes a little more difficult,” said Pittman.

Challenges that businesses and hotels are fully equipped to handle.

“It’s definitely in the back of our heads,” said Allen. “We will be back again in 2021, I don’t know to what magnitude,” added Zogelman.

Pittman says he, along with arena officials, Visit Wichita and the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission will take the next two to four weeks to gather some feedback.

He says after that, they will meet to discuss what to do the same and differently for when the NCAA Tournament returns to Wichita in 2021.

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