TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The NCAA Tucson regional is underway at Hi Corbett Field, drawing in out-of-state fans.
The heat isn’t discouraging fans from showing up to root for their favorite team, while boosting the Tucson economy along the way.
Toby Angell drove in from Oklahoma, where he says there’s limited sunshine and rain.
“It’s going to be hot. We’re not used to it. We’ve had nothing but rain in Oklahoma for the last month. So we’re not used to hot temperatures yet, but so what,” he told KGUN9.
Though, that’s not stopping him from cheering on his Oklahoma Cowboys.
“We came for the baseball tournament. We’re big OSU baseball fans and never been to Tucson, so we thought 'hey…let’s go for it,'” he added.
Dan Gibson with Visit Tucson says a tournament like this is what the Tucson economy needs to get back to normalcy.
“It’s not just a hotel room stay, which obviously there’s taxes and revenue that come from that but also people inevitably end up eating in local restaurants. And then they go shopping...and hopefully they catch an attraction or two,” said Gibson.
He says tourism draws in billions to Tucson.
“In 2019, there was $2.6 billion in direct travel spending,” he told KGUN9.
Gibson says COVID-19 put a dent in tourism dollars the last calendar year, but he’s optimistic tourism will come back as more restrictions are lifted.
As it stands, Hi Corbett Field is now open for 100% capacity.
So far, at least 1,700 all-session passes have been sold. That doesn't include single-session or walk-up tickets that have already been purchased.
Stephen Leek has been a Wildcat season holder since 2013 and says, it feels good to see people cheering on the wildcats, in-person.
“The day games are going to be tough I would think, but it’s a dry heat, no humidity. So, come out and enjoy it. And night games are not going to be a problem,” said Leek.
“It’s a lot more fun when there’s a bigger crowd, yeah for sure,” added Angells.
There are four teams competing in this regional.
If UArizona wins the regional, they’ll host again at home next weekend for the super regional.