BANGOR – Over the next two weeks, dozens of high school girls and boys basketball players will be chasing an elusive state title, but the players are not only ones affected by the tourney, as the surrounding communities are impacted as well.
According to Tony Vail, the Cross Insurance Center’s director, between 40,000 and 50,000 people will be visiting Bangor throughout the Maine Principals’ Association’s state basketball championships, and with that heavy influx of people, a huge economic boost should follow.
“This tournament gives this community and this city a lot of exposure and shows off all the toys, like this building, the casino, all of the hotels, the restaurants, that this town has to offer to everybody,” Vail said.
“It really is hundreds of thousands of dollars that are added to our economy during this one particular week,” said Kerrie Tripp, the executive director of the Greater Bangor Convention and Business Bureau.
Mexicali Blues’ Store Manager Julie Baker Laden said she and other local Bangor area business owners have been preparing for the tournament with special deals.
“We always look forward to the month of February because we run an epic 25% off store-wide sale, and it really does coincide well with school vacation and the basketball tournament,” Laden said.
She also said during this time of year the tournament provides a necessary boost to help businesses get through the winter season, thanks in part to Valentine’s Day, winter break for schools and the basketball tournament all happening around the same time.
“I’m looking forward to seeing all the people, I’m looking forward to seeing the happiness and the fun with the kids playing basketball in this great arena,” Vail said.