Return of C-USA tournament is good news for Mid-South economy - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Return of C-USA tournament is good news for Mid-South economy

(WMC-TV) - The economic impact of the Conference USA tournament will be felt all across the Mid-South.

The University of Memphis Tigers claimed the Conference USA regular season title with a win at Tulsa Saturday.

"I'm just so proud of these young men because they earned this championship," said Tigers head basketball coach Josh Pastner.

The victory gave the Tigers a first round bye in the Conference USA Men's Basketball Championship, which the Tigers are hosting at the FedEx Forum this week.

"We stuck together and just showed we have great positive energy to stay together and think positive thoughts, great things happen," said Pastner.

Eric Granger with the FedEx Forum said everyone is ecstatic to see the tournament return to Memphis.

"It was exciting for us when we first got the announcement it was coming back to Memphis," said Granger.  "The last time the tournament was here was in 2009."

Granger said a lot of preparations are being made.

"Right now, we're converting the arena with the Conference USA floor, setting up all the media areas, turning our practice court into a big media work room, and being ready on Tuesday for opening practices," said Granger.

Granger said the return of the tournament is expected to create a big financial boost for the city.  He said it has usually brought in anywhere from $3.5 million to $5 million in visitor spending.

"We don't know of course the numbers until after it's over, but we certainly expect with the excitement of the Tigers being the number one seed there will be a lot of money being spent downtown, as well as throughout the city," said Granger.  "Folks hiring babysitters, going to dinner, making their plans to come to the tournament."

The Conference USA Men's Basketball Championship runs from March 7 to 10.

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