Basketball tournament a slam dunk for Rapid City economy

RAPID CITY S.D. — A lot of the people in Rapid City for the State Basketball Tournament came a couple of days early to beat the weather. And with each person comes hundreds of dollars in economic impact.

The Rapid City Chamber of Commerce says each family can bring thousands of dollars to hotels, restaurants and stores. Business leaders say while the tournament brings in the bucks for Rapid City, it also benefits towns across the state.

“It also gives them a taste of what it is when you go across the state you see Mitchell and all they have to offer, and all the small towns in between,” said Rapid City Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Linda Rabe. “And they get out to Rapid City and they see the beautiful Black Bills and they say ‘You know what? I think we should get back out here for the summer and be a tourist,” Rabe said.

Rabe also said the tournament brings in families, many who might come back for vacation or college.

But the economic future of the tournament could change. The South Dakota State Athletic Association will decide later this month whether to split up the boys and girls tournaments over two weekends. Leadership says this could bring dollars to smaller communities, but it also could take more time and money to stage the tournaments.

“During spring break there’s a lot of schools playing in the school basketball tournament and all of a sudden you’ve got two weekends instead of one,” said SDHSAA Assistant Executive Director John Krogstrand. “It’s time for us to review that and see if its working or see if we want to go back to what we’ve been doing before.”

And though future scheduling is up in the air, Krogstrand says the tournament will still be a significant money maker.

“It’s a spendy adventure. The hotel, rooms, the gas, and on a weekend like this, five days sometimes six, its an expensive deal,” Krogstrand said, “And that’s something we’ve tried to work with our host communities on is minimizing that impact, but at the same time it is a great windfall for the communities that host the events.”


Categories: Local News, South Dakota News, Sports