March 12, 2018

'March Madness in Maine' women's tourney delivers $4M over two years

Photo / Tim Greenway
Photo / Tim Greenway
Brian Corcoran, founder and president of Shamrock Sports and Entertainment, pictured at his office, reported today that the recently completed 2018 America East Women's Championship basketball tournament in Portland delivered $2 million in economic impact. With 2017's $2 million impact added in, the tournament delivered $4 million to the region's economy over the two years that the tournaments took place at the 5,800-seat Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.

About the America East Conference

Now in its fourth decade of existence, the America East Conference has evolved into one of the most comprehensive, broad-based Division I conferences in the country and is progressive in its approach to its more than 3,400 student-athletes. America East recognizes champions in each of its 18 sports and consists of members spanning from the Mid-Atlantic to Northeast regions of the United States including: University at Albany, Binghamton University, University of Hartford, University of Maine, University of Maryland Baltimore County, University of Massachusetts Lowell, University of New Hampshire, Stony Brook University and University of Vermont.

About Shamrock Sports and Entertainment

Shamrock is a privately owned premier sports and entertainment sales and marketing agency led by former NASCAR and Fenway Sports Management/Boston Red Sox executive Brian Corcoran. Founded in January 2010 and headquartered in Portland, Shamrock specializes in strategic sponsorship and multi-media sales, naming rights and other consulting services. Clients include, but are not limited to, NASCAR, NBA, Invictus Games (founded by Prince Harry), P1 Powerboat & AquaX, Professional Bowlers Association, Rugged Maniac (a Mark Cuban company), America East Conference, Red Bull Air Race, Goulian Aerosports and FanBeat.

The 2018 America East Women's Championship basketball tournament, presented by MaineHealth and Gorham Savings Bank at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland last week, delivered $2 million in economic impact, according to its organizers.

With an additional $2 million impact in 2017, the two-year economic impact for the tournament in Portland is estimated at $4 million, based on estimates derived from the number of people who came from out-of-town and spent money on hotels, food and other attractions.

The top-seeded University of Maine women's team captured the America East championship title by defeating Hartford 74-65 on Friday in the title game at Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. It's the first conference title for the UMaine women since 2004, giving it a berth in the NCAA national tournament that will be determining regional matchups Monday night.

In the quarterfinal and semifinal tournament games hosted at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, the UMaine women defeated eighth-seeded University of Maryland Baltimore County 65-43 on March 3 and fifth-seeded University of New Hampshire 64-48 on March 4.

Over 10,000 fans attended tournament games played at the Cross Insurance Arena in downtown Portland, marking the first time in conference history the tournament was played at a neutral site.

Successful partnership

America East Commissioner Amy Huchthausen characterized the "March Madness" tournaments in Portland for both 2017 and 2018 as a "most-memorable event" made possible by the successful partnership with the tournaments' Maine sponsors.

"Maine has some of the most passionate women's basketball fans in the country and we enjoyed taking our championship to Portland in both 2017 and 2018," Huchthausen said. "Shamrock, the Maine Sports Commission and the Cross Insurance Arena helped us put on a first-class event to showcase our top-flight women's basketball teams and student-athletes in a destination city with an incredibly supportive community."

The games were televised on ESPN.

Shamrock spearheaded efforts to bring the tournament to Portland, which were made possible through corporate support via presenting partners MaineHealth and Gorham Savings Bank along with official partners Harvard Pilgrim, Live & Work in Maine, MACPAGE, Maine Today Media, MEMIC, NewsCenter Maine, Pratt Abbott, Quirk Auto Group, UNUM and Visit Maine.

"We are optimistic that we can make Maine a preferred destination for sports and entertainment events as displayed with these tournaments," said Shamrock founder and President Brian Corcoran. "These marquee events provide entertainment and economic benefit to the people and businesses of our great state."

Corcoran also said Shamrock will be exploring the opportunity to bring the America East Conference tournament back to Maine in the years ahead.

"In addition to exciting basketball, this event will leverage our commitment to youth and community through great partnerships with local companies and charities," he said. "We consider ourselves lucky to be associated with a partner of the America East Conference's caliber."

Expanding Maine's brand as 'four-season' destination

"Whether you are in Maine or traveling from afar, these events offer the opportunity to see Maine as a place with great entertainment" venues in addition to its well-established restaurant and craft-brewing scene, Corcoran said in a telephone interview with Mainebiz this morning.

"It gives people an opportunity to see that we have a lot to offer. We hope to leverage that."

Corcoran said the $4 million economic impact of the 2017 and 2018 America East Women's basketball tournaments is based on 4,000 non-local (2,000 per year) visitors spending an average of $1,000 per visitor across lodging for 2.5 average nights, food, tickets and other retail purchases. National Association of Sports Commissions provides the economic impact calculator that was used by Visit Portland, which provided Shamrock with the projection for this event.

Corcoran said the economic impact does not include indirect spending, which includes the likelihood that visitors for the American East tourney will return in future based on their experience.

"We marketed the tournament with a promo to join us in Maine for "Hoops, Hops, Food & Fun," Corcoran told Mainebiz, noting that the promos highlighted Portland as a destination with great cuisine, craft beers and other lifestyle fun.

The recent Professional Bowlers Association Tour Maine events, he added, which were televised on ESPN, averaged 500,000 viewers per broadcast.

"It plays a very big part in terms of showcasing this state," Corcoran said of the ESPN coverage.

Corcoran said Shamrock Sports and Entertainment is in active conversations with America East for consideration of the tournament and other collegiate championships coming to Maine in future years.

"On the heels of bringing PBA Tour Maine events and America East Women's Basketball tournaments to Portland, we are also in development of a "Shamrock Signature" event," he added. "We see a bright future to leverage Maine being a state for all seasons and driving economic impact when our region needs it most (most notable hotels and restaurants) — with a focus on the shoulder season (January through March)."

"Stay tuned, the best is yet to come," Corcoran said, adding, with respect to the UMaine women's basketball team advancing to the NCAA tournament, "Go Black Bears!"


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