terry charles | behind the stage | april 2018
Last month's announcement that the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) and PMI Entertainment Group have extended the girls state basketball and volleyball tournaments at the Resch Center through the year 2025 was a big deal in more ways than one. The deal is big literally because another five years have been extended to the current contract that expires in 2020. It's big figuratively too because of the economic impact and overall exposure of the area.
The WIAA moved the girls state basketball tournament to the Resch Center in 2013 on a two-year trial basis and then extended the deal from 2015 through 2020. The girls state volleyball tournament has been at the Resch Center since 2002. The basketball tournament draws nearly 40,000 fans during a typical year. That translates to a $2.5 million economic impact for the Green Bay area. The volleyball tournament draws nearly 20,000 fans with an economic impact of about $700,000. Not small beans.
To make the news even better, the WIAA Board of Control voted unanimously in January to move the boys state volleyball tournament to the Resch Center to coincide with the girls tournament beginning in 2019 on a four-year trial basis. The boys tournament typically averages more than 5,600 fans. That all translates to even more people coming to the area.
It's pretty crazy to sit here and realize the state championships will be here through 2025 after what it took to get them here in the first place. Oh, the volleyball tournament was a given at the Resch ever since it opened. Getting the girls basketball tournament away from Madison after a bunch of decades was the real deal. A lot of people will tell you Madison took the tournaments for granted. Hotels down there charged an arm and a leg for fans, parking prices skyrocketed and observers said the city and its business were gouging fans in general.
Another factor was the WIAA wanted the girls to have a permanent home for its championship. In Madison it was at the Kohl Center some years and at other Madison area venues other years. Only the Kohl Center was equal to the quality of the Resch Center. PMI Entertainment Group offered a fantastic alternative by guaranteeing dates and guaranteeing the Resch Center would be the girls' home. Period.
So what has been the end result? I mentioned earlier the economic impact, but it has also showcased Green Bay as a viable city with a great venue to hold championships. The WIAA has loved being at the Resch Center and has been a benefactor of our can-do attitude. In addition, the Resch Center has been introduced to new fans from around the state. While many may still attend events in Milwaukee or Madison, they now know the Resch is a great alternative to see a concert or a show like Disney On Ice or the Harlem Globetrotters. Those fans have learned how easy it is to park and access our building.
Having the WIAA in town until 2025 (at least) is good for business, good for the local economy and good for girls high school basketball. Who knows what else is possible once the new expo center is built!
Terry Charles is public relations manager for Green Bay-based PMI Entertainment Group. He's all about media relations, publicity and social media for the Resch Center Complex, Meyer Theatre, Green Bay Gamblers Hockey and other events produced by PMI. When not at work, please don't hit him with your car as he runs and bikes around the Green Bay area. You can follow him on Twitter at @TCCharles.