|Published:||Nov 25, 2013 10:43 PM EST|
|Updated:||Nov 25, 2013 10:43 PM EST|
ESTERO, FL.--FGCU's growing reputation is attracting more money to southwest Florida.
A major college basketball tournament is happening all this week at Germain Arena and it's bringing people from across the country to our area.
When you think of southwest Florida, it's probably the beaches, the sunshine and outdoor shopping that come to mind.
But now, add in a huge NCAA basketball tournament.
"They got the weather and the scenery," said UIC head basketball coach Howard Moore.
Monday kicked off the first ever Gulf Coast Showcase at Germain Arena.
"It's a nice arena," said Moore.
16 division I teams from across the country traveled here to compete for the title.
"We had an opportunity to create something new, a mid-major only men's event and a premium women's event and we needed a destination location," said DB Global's Brooks Downing.
Downing says once it was clear that FGCU tapped in to a local fan base, they couldn't miss the opportunity.
"You have got an easy to access airport that has direct flights in, you have got some wonderful resorts for them to stay at, so when you put it all on paper, there was not a better choice,"
There is also a major economic impact because all the teams stay, eat and shop local.
"Your'e talking about $150 per per person, per day," said Downing.
There's also the fans who visit southwest Florida.
"We had a chance to go to Captiva and the islands this morning," said Charles Halterman.
Even the players say this tournament could really become something special.
For more information on the Gulf Coast Showcase, CLICK HERE.