NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Five days of the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament wrapped up at Bridgestone Arena after Kentucky won its first SEC championship in 40 years, beating the number one seed South Carolina. The tournament brought visitors and money into Music City.
Nashville hosted the women's tournament for the first time since 2018. It comes almost exactly two years after the 2020 SEC Men's Tournament was canceled midway through because of COVID.
Last year the men's tournament was held at 20% capacity and masks were required in Bridgestone Arena. Now nearly two years later, the women's tournament provided a shot at normalcy again.
President of the Nashville Sports Council Scott Ramsey said, "we're gonna have somewhere around 50,000 to 55,000 attend the event and we've seen almost half of those come from out of town, if not two thirds in some years."
The tournament is also estimated to generate anywhere between a six to nine million dollar economic impact.
"We have a very vibrant hospitality community that was hard hit two years ago," said President and CEO of the Greater Nashville Hospitality Association, Leesa LeClaire.
While the local hospitality industry hasn't completely rebounded, LeClaire said it is coming close and it's now at a tipping point. "We have more and more hotel rooms to fill and so we need more and more events like this to keep bringing folks back," she said.