ASHWAUBENON- As teams from across the Horizon League tipped off Friday, most of the fans were from right here in Green Bay.
“It’s great to have it back here. We haven’t had it here since the days of Dick Bennett,” said Gary Schmidt, from Allouez.
“Some good teams playing here tonight. I wanted to see what we’ll be up against tomorrow night,” said Steve Jastrow from Green Bay.
Local attendance will be a big factor, with UW-Green Bay and UW-Milwaukee playing this weekend.
“I think because of the two, we can call them local teams, there is a great opportunity for alumni and their families to come back,” said Brenda Krainik with the Greater Green Bay Visitors and Conventions Bureau.
Many fans say it was a decent deal for a weekend full of basketball games. The most expensive tournament pass was $48 dollars.
Friday was slower, but about 5500 of the 8 thousand seats have already sold for Saturday.
With the Horizon League Tournament being in town, there was some shuffling that went on down here in the stadium district. For instance, the Green Bay Gamblers hockey team will play here at the Brown County Arena.
It’s a problem the Gamblers have never dealt with at the Resch before, because the Phoenix haven’t hosted the tournament since the 90s.
“It’s taken a lot of hard work to get the tournament here for us and to win the regular season. I’ve been here for nine years and it’s always been a goal of mine,” said Phoenix Men’s Basketball Head Coach Brian Wardle.
Tourism officials say it’s hard to estimate just how much money the tournament will bring in because it’s been so long since it’s been here.
But the impact will reach beyond the seats.
“They’re going to head to Lambeau Field and they’re going to eat in our restaurants and really get a feel for what Green Bay has to offer,” said Krainik.
Phoenix fans say they hope other fans enjoy their stay, but don’t go home too happy.
UWGB takes the court Saturday.