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NCAA Tournament At Chase Center Will Show Tourists San Francisco At Its Best

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- Madness is about to descend upon San Francisco -- March Madness, that is.

Starting Thursday, the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games of the NCAA tournament will hit Chase Center. The last time the NCAA tournament hit the City by the Bay, World War II hadn't begun. Thursday, that ends as the West Regional featuring both Duke and Gonzaga tips off.

"This is the first time San Francisco has actually hosted NCAA basketball since 1939 when we played at Treasure Island at the California Coliseum," said YoYo Chan, Vice-President of Government and Community Relations for the Warriors.

Tourism accounts for a third of San Francisco's economy and has been slow to recover as pandemic restrictions lift. Rodney Fong, President and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce says this is a chance to change the narrative that the city is dangerous.

"The more people that experience San Francisco and see it firsthand and not from a news flash or a clipping or whatever, or a soundbite - it's a beautiful city. Chase Center in Mission Bay a beautiful part of San Francisco with the glistening bay in the background. We're gonna get some great shots and hopefully some people having some great experiences here," Fong said.

Chan says the tournament will introduce Chase and the city to a whole new set of fans who might not otherwise visit.

"A lot of people are going to be flying into San Francisco for the first time,"said Chan. "Lots of fans from across the country who haven't traveled and who are going to be experiencing our city, local restaurants, everything The City has to offer that we haven't really been able to share with the rest of the world our country for the past two years. This is a really big coming out. Not just for Chase Center as we welcome college basketball, but for the entire city of San Francisco."

As of Monday afternoon, the cheapest seats to the Sweet Sixteen on StubHub are running north of $500. If that is too rich for your blood, here at Thrive City, the games will be shown on the big screen as they happen. There will also be a fanfest on Friday, featuring a court for kids to play and live music.

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