ST. LOUIS (KSDK) – It's one of the most beloved sporting events in the world, and now, folks are trying to bring the Final Four to the Gateway City.
A long-time downtown St. Louis restaurant owner remembers the economic boon the Final Four brought to his business back in 2005, the last time the city hosted the event.
He says it was greater than any World Series or post-season event he's ever seen.
What exactly would a St. Louis Final Four mean? About 65,000 people downtown for four straight days. To put it into context, this week's regional brought in about $5 to $10 million. The Final Four? It made St. Louis between $50 and $60 million in 2005.
As for this year's Final Four in Dallas? It's expected to make a cool $276 million.
Frank Vivorito, president of the Sports Commission, says he'll lead the charge to get the Gateway City another Final Four. It's tough competition: Eight cities are battling for four Final Fours.
How will he sell it?
"In our perspective, our basketball experience," he said. "But working against us is older buildings, not as many hotels and very few direct flights."
A big St. Louis contingent is headed to Dallas next weekend. The final bid is due in May, and the announcement will come in November.