Fans get a sneak peek at First Four as March Madness kicks off in Dayton
DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - The First Four is coming to Dayton, as March Madness gets underway.
If you have a bracket, you'll want to watch these games. They set the stage for the rest of the NCAA Tournament, energizing basketball fans all over the country.
“It's honestly so fun to be here and watch everyone practice,” Lola Brown said.
Lola is part of a Bellbrook rec league team that’s soaking up the experience, watching teams practice at UD Arena.
Their coach David Casbeer says watching practice helps motive his players.
“This is a good experience to re-emphasize the drills we do at practice and to get them excited about basketball,” Casbeer said.
Not everyone is local. Fans travel from all over to see the opening round. James Squire is from St. Louis.
“It always seems like the Dayton community comes out and supported this event,” Squire said.
That's a big reason why the Miami Valley keeps getting picked to host.
The Dayton Convention and Visitors Bureau tries to make it a unique experience for teams and their fans.
“Always looking to do it a little better, what can we add on and what’s going to make it even more unique,” Dayton CVB CEO Jacquie Powell said.
The event is also a huge boost to the region. Brining money to restaurants, stores and hotels.
“The First Four brings us 4.5 million dollars in economic investment,” County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman said.
Bringing basketball fans of all ages together. Encouraging the next wave of talent like Lola and her teammates.
“I just want to be able to push it more and keep on practicing to get better,” Brown said.