No fans for 2021 Summit League tournaments, Sioux Falls businesses discuss economic impact

Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 9:12 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -The Men’s and Women’s Summit League basketball tournaments will play on for the 13th year in Sioux Falls. However, it will look a lot different. The tournaments will be held without fans. The games are also moving from the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center to the Sanford Pentagon.

Each year sports fans look forward to watching the Summit League Tournaments and local businesses welcome the influx of visitors.

“I think Summit League is a great promotion for everybody in Sioux Falls. It’s been very beneficial for a lot of people not only the sports bars but also the restaurants and the hotels and McDonalds and all that. So it’s a pretty big event,” said Dan Rose, Owner of Shenanigans.

While it was a tough decision, Summit League Commissioner, Tom Douple says when it comes down to it, what’s most important is that the students play basketball.

“We’re about the student-athletes and their health and safety and welfare and that is a priority. We are disappointed more than anyone. You know, financially, we’re going to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars, you know with this tournament decision,” said Douple.

The tournaments will be moved to the Sanford Pentagon, so all 16 teams can do their practice and shooter rounds in one area.

“We’re creating as much of a bubble atmosphere as we can with our teams,” said Douple.

Jeff Griffin, CEO of the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce believes the city will lose out economically compared to years past, but says it was the right decision.

“We’re not going to have the people coming in from out of town to watch the games with TVs here, but we are going to have people come from out of town to use the hotel rooms,” said Griffin.

“We just need to remind ourselves locally that we do need to support our local bars and restaurants as much as possible because it is a big hit to not have the people come from out of state and other cities to come enjoy Sioux Falls. But it’s just part of the world we’re living in right now,” he added.

At Shenanigans, Owner Don Rose is just happy that summit league is still happening.

“We have a lot of football fans in the fall that we didn’t get this year that just didn’t come out because there were no games,” said Rose.

He plans to show the tournaments and so does the Gateway Lounge

Although out of town fans are unlikely, bars hope to still see a boost in business during the tournaments.

“As far as local fans it will kind of be nice for us because they’ll actually come here to watch it instead of going to the game,” said Jackson Rentschler, Manager at Gateway Lounge.

“It will be good. I don’t think it’s going to be the worst thing in the world to have no fans. It might be a little plus,” said Rose.

The games will be played March 6th-9th. All ticket holders will receive an email on January 18th about their options going forward.

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