March Madness returning to Seattle after more than a decade; economic boost expected

SEATTLE -- After more than a decade, March Madness is returning to the Emerald City. KeyArena will host several rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament for the first time since 2004.

The Seattle Sports Commission estimates the second and third round games could have a local economic impact of upwards of $6 million. The NCAA men’s tournament games will be played March 20 & 22.

“Well, it’s a really big deal. First of all it is national and international coverage,” said KeyArena facility manager Edie Burke.

Burke worked the last two tournaments at the arena in 1999 and 2004. She expects over 150 members of the media to cover the games.

“I was actually here in 1996 when the Sonics went to the finals against the Chicago Bulls and that’s comparable,” said Burke.

Throughout the month, the arena will host men’s and women’s college basketball. The Pac-12 women’s tournament tipped off Thursday. The games run through March 8.