Des Moines Impresses NCAA, City in Process of Bidding to Host Future Tournaments

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Des Moines managed to land one of the biggest events of the year and they scored big points with the NCAA.

"They'd say, boy, Des Moines has changed, I mean this is a really urban, exciting place to visit," Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie said.

Hosting the tournament was a big opportunity to change Des Moines' reputation.

"You know Des Moines is for many a surprising place, for so many years, 20 years ago it was a flyover kind of place," Cownie said.

It's safe to say that people have noticed.

"Social media has just gone crazy, and lots and lots of compliments about Des Moines and the area and just really good stuff," said Greg Edwards, CEO Des Moines Vistors Bureau.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau are using this feedback, as well as survey data, to turn Des Moines into a basketball city.

"We used this as kind of an audition to keep this basketball tournament here," Edwards said. "We are right now in the process of bidding the NCAA, the NCAA put their bids out this year for 2019, 20 and 21."

And while the tournament was a great way to show off the city, local businesses also benefited from the estimated $3.1 million March Madness brought in.

"Yeah we saw a huge boost, a lot of people came in, the foot traffic in the east village has been crazy," said Taylor Frame, Director of Sales at Raygun. "The past couple of days there's been people everywhere."

The visitors bureau is now looking ahead to the future by scouting other conventions and sporting events to bring to the city, all while being able to say they can handle the madness of march.

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