ESTERO, Fla. - More than a dozen college basketball teams flocked to Southwest Florida this week for the first ever Gulf Coast Showcast basketball tournament. Wtih so many friends, family and fans following the teams, local businesses must have seen some extra business... right?
"We had no expectations on what we would draw" Brooks Downing helped organize the tournament, and he tells Fox 4, "we had a good crowd during the men's event. The crowds were okay during the women's, but it didn't.... we're not disappointed whatsoever. We see what's coming"
He goes on to add even though the mostly empty arena didn't look like much, it wasn't the whole story.
"We've just brought sixteen teams into the southwest florida marketplace, they can only come here once every four years by NCAA rules. So over a four year period, we're going to be bringing 64 different teams to southwest florida"
Father of a Middle Tennessee player, Nick Rowe tells Fox 4 when he made his plans, he chose to stay in the same hotel as the players.
"What a nice area, we're staying at the Whaldorf, nice facility, right there on the beach, beaches are very clean"
He says he's just glad he didn't have to watch the tournament back home in Lexington Kentucky, where it s a little bit colder right now
"Its probably around 30 degrees today, so its kinda nice being down here in the 75 to 80 degree range"
From great weather to a growing appetite for sports, Brooks tells us Southwest Florida looks to be the perfect place for the tournament to grow
"All in all its been a great first week, just to iron out all of the bugs"