By Bill Hudson

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There’s no question that it is one of our greatest sporting spectacles. So when the NCAA Final Four comes to Minneapolis in April, it will leave a pile of cash behind.

According to host committee estimates, the 90,000 out-of-town visitors will have an economic impact of $142 million during the four-day event.

“And with the economic impact we will see from it, this is not only a good deal for Minnesotans, this is a great deal for Minnesotans,” said Kate Mortenson, Final Four organizing committee CEO.

But to put on the highly-watched show, it’s going to cost a lot of money.

To get U.S. Bank Stadium prepared to host, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority will have to spend about $6.9 million in operational costs alone. That’s about 10 times what it spent to prepare the stadium for the 2018 Super Bowl.

The costs include installing infrastructure to support an additional 10,000 courtside seats and an overhead scoreboard.

But the total cost to host is a bit misleading. That’s because nearly half the $10 million price tag is to pay for an expansive blackout curtain, which is needed to block light from the stadium’s massive glass wall.

An MFSA spokesperson says the curtain’s $5.2 million dollar cost is a capital expense, which will be spread among future events in years to come.

In the meantime, many Super Bowl expenses were reimbursed by the NFL and that is something the NCAA doesn’t do.

“This is a national and global sports event and it takes all contributors to deliver with the excellence we will deliver,” Mortenson said.

And while the Super Bowl was exempt from state and local taxes, the Final Four is expected to pay roughly $20 million dollars into state coffers.

Bill Hudson

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