PROVIDENCE, RI — March 15, 2022 — While some local basketball teams are on the road this week under the national spotlight, two weekend tournaments booked by the Rhode Island Sports Commission (RISC) are expected to attract nearly 20,000 visitors and contribute more than $3 million to the Rhode Island economy.

“While we’re certainly cheering for our hometown collegiate basketball teams this week, we’re also looking forward to welcoming thousands of families to the Providence area March 18–20,” said John Gibbons, RISC executive director. “In addition to this weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities, downtown is going to be busier than we’ve seen it for a few years and we couldn’t be more excited.”

Varsity Spirit’s Spirit Fest Grand Nationals, a multi-day cheerleading competition, will take over the Rhode Island Convention Center and Dunkin’ Donuts Center as nearly 400 teams compete for bids in national events and championships. The three-day event is expected to draw 17,000 attendees, including 6,700 athletes, and utilize nearly 3,000 hotel room nights across 21 properties. The estimated economic impact of this event in the heart of downtown is upwards of $2.1 million.

Meanwhile, the New England Basketball Championship will feature some of the region’s top boys and girls teams from grades 3–8. The tournament will take place at Tiverton’s Longplex Family & Sports Complex and Rhode Island College. Nearly 3,000 people are expected to attend, including 1,000 athletes, for an estimated direct spend of $960,000. More than 1,000 hotel room nights have been contracted as a result.