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WIAA state tournaments brought more than just basketball to La Crosse

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - The WIAA state tournaments brought people from across the state to the area and a lot of attention to the beauty of La Crosse.

The tournament was also broadcast across the state and streamed online which means even those who didn't attend heard about the beautiful city.

Jeremiah Burish, director of sports and events at Explore La Crosse, said it was very beneficial for the local businesses and restaurants and they jumped at the opportunity to host it.

"It brings some business to the La Crosse area, the downtown especially with the La Crosse Center, the newly renovated arena," said Burish. "It's awesome to have an opportunity that we don't normally have being that it's always in Madison for the boys and the girls Green Bay."

Burish explained that having the city broadcast across the state is great publicity.

"It's great exposure and marketing. Obviously the events are aired and so the broadcasts hopefully people are seeing it, the people that are traveling are seeing the La Crosse area, some maybe for the first time, seeing how beautiful the region is with the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, just truly a beautiful, beautiful place," said Burish.

He said he hopes that people have seen that and it will cause a ripple effect for more tourism. With everything being closed for so long, Burish explained this it has been a good boost for the downtown area. The economic impact, he said, has been huge.

"The Wisconsin Department of Tourism estimates that an overnight visitor spends approximately $160 and a day-tripper spends about $71 so this event is a great boost. Approximately $500,000 or just over is a very conservative estimated economic impact for this event alone," said Burish.

Combined with the girls' tournament, the financial impact is around $1 million for the city.

As the weather gets warmer and the vaccination numbers increase, more people will be out and about which will also help downtown business.

"Things are opening up, we're getting to the point where we are going to start seeing more business and with the beautiful weather and spring upon us. It's just kind of all happening at the same time which is really exciting and hopefully we can get there sooner rather than later," said Burish.

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Rylie Kyhn

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