Even before the first wrestler steps onto the mat at the Wells Fargo Center, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships are already a success. The three-day event, March 17-19, is already completely sold out, as thousands of wrestling fans from across North America are expected to descend on Philadelphia.
PHILADELPHIA, March 14, 2011… Even before the first wrestler steps onto the mat at the Wells Fargo Center, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships are already a success. The three-day event, March 17-19, is already completely sold out, as thousands of wrestling fans from across North America are expected to descend on Philadelphia.
Nearly 15,000 visitors from 45 states and Canada are expected to generate 10,000 hotel room nights and $15M in economic impact for the region. Philadelphia is attempting to break the event attendance record of 97,336 (for six sessions) established at the 2009 championships in St. Louis.
Hosted by the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) and Rider University, in conjunction with Comcast-Spectacor, the event will feature 330 student-athletes and 144 coaches from 72 institutions. More than one million viewers are expected to watch the event on the ESPN family of networks.
“This is truly one of the NCAA’s premier events, and we are delighted to be hosting wrestling fans from around the country in Philadelphia,” said David Montgomery, chairman, Philadelphia Sports Congress, a division of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau. “All of the event partners have worked diligently for two years to ensure a wonderful week for our visitors.”
Philadelphia and the surrounding region bring a foundation of a very strong wrestling community. Pennsylvania leads the nation as the state with the most 4-year collegiate wrestling programs (33), and is one of the top five states in terms of high school participation levels.
“Philadelphia’s wrestling community is tremendously excited to welcome the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships here for the first time,” said Roger Reina, chairman of Local Organizing
Committee. “The entire region has a deep and rich wrestling history. We are both thrilled and proud to showcase Philadelphia to the wrestling community from around the country.”
“The Wells Fargo Center is a truly spectacular facility that was designed to host prestigious events like the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships," said Peter Luukko, president, Comcast-Spectacor. "These are the type of events that not only puts the Wells Fargo Center into the national spotlight, but the entire region. We look forward to making this year's NCAA Wrestling Championships at the Wells Fargo Center the best experience ever for the student-athletes, the coaches and their fans.”
Over the next four years, Philadelphia will host six NCAA championships, encompassing five sports, which are expected to result in an estimated economic impact of $75 million for the region. Joining wrestling in 2011 is the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Regional, March 27 & 29 at Temple University’s Liacouras Center.
Future years will include the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Quarterfinals at PPL Park (hosted by Drexel University), the 2013 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships at Lincoln Financial Field (also hosted by Drexel University), the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball 2nd & 3rd Rounds at the Wells Fargo Center (Temple University) and the 2014 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four (Ice Hockey Championship) at the Wells Fargo Center (Eastern College Athletic Conference).
During this week’s event, the NCAA Fan Festival (free to fans), will be held March 17-19 at Lincoln Financial Field. For more information, and a full schedule of events, visit http://www.ncaa.com/championships/wrestling/d1.
In addition to MAAC, Rider and Comcast-Spectacor, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships are a collaborative effort which includes the City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Sports Congress, a division of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the area wrestling community.