Sun Belt Basketball Championship Exceeds Expectations

by Katie King |


Sun Belt Basketball Championship Exceeds Expectations


The 2022 Sun Belt Conference (SBC) men’s and women’s championship games were a smashing success in getting the Pensacola community in on March Madness basketball. EW Bullock was happy to work with Visit Pensacola and Pensacola Sports in marketing and promoting the six-day event.

Ticket sales totaled 14,768, doubling last year’s figures and Saturday’s Fan Fest was huge success drawing large crowds. Fan Fest activities included performances by spirit teams and bands, family-friendly games, food and drinks and a DJ to keep the energy and excitement.

New to this year’s event was the Dribble Drive – a free event for kids age 3-12 where each participant received a free t-shirt, free basketball, and two tickets to the Men’s quarterfinal game at 2 p.m. Organizers were delighted to reached the maximum capacity of 500 registrations for this event.  The participating kids dribbled their basketballs from outside the Bay Center, into the arena, around the second-floor concourse and to a special seating section where they enjoyed the game.

Visit Pensacola and Pensacola Sports partnered to promote the event, making a big splash with marketing and public relations initiatives covering everything from traditional advertising to sidewalk stickers and street pole banners, as well as designating host bars in Downtown Pensacola to welcome basketball fans. Sun Belt officials dressed up the Bay Center in conference colors and giant inflated basketballs are posted outside representing each school.

The public relations campaign for the event garnered 14 pre-championship interviews, as well as more than 673 articles representing over $909,000 in value.

Visit Pensacola commissioned a research study that shows the event generated $2,436,900 in economic impact. Below is a breakdown of key data points.

  • 6,500 unique attendees
    • 55% of attendees were out-of-county visitors
  • 4,426 room nights in paid accommodations
  • Out-of-county visitors spent $1,624,000 in the Pensacola area during this event
  • Typical out-of-county attendees were 45 years old, earned $73,100 per year and traveled in parties of 4.8 people
  • 65% of visitors stayed overnight in paid accommodations and stayed an average of 4.2 nights.
  • 93% of out-of-county visitors said this event was the main reason for coming to the Pensacola area.









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