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Basketball is going to mean big business for the Nashville economy.

Tourism industry leaders expect next month's NCAA Women's Final Four at Bridgestone Arena will bring between $20 million and $25 million in direct economic spending.

Although the Nashville Sports Council won't know the teams in the Final Four for another week, the event is already virtually sold out, with fewer than 150 upper-level tickets still remaining, according to Sports Council Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Gary Karl Alexander.

Alexander said the event will bring between 20,000 and 30,000 visitors according to estimates provided by the NCAA based on recent Final Four numbers.

Alexander said the number of cities that have recognized how collegiate sports can mean major commerce has increased over the years.

"The Nashville Sports Council is a member of the National Association of Sports Commissions, and in 1992, we were one of 14 members," Alexander said. "Today, there are over 350 members, which shows the business value of sports.

"In addition, this is the largest women's event we will ever host in Nashville, and we can't host the men's (Final Four) because to do that, you have to have a dome on a stadium. So we're not going to get the men's Final Four. This is the highest women's collegiate sporting event in the country."

The Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. said it is too soon to know how many hotel room nights the tournament will bring because those numbers depend on which teams reach the championship game. But CVC President and CEO Butch Spyridon said it was already a certainty that the hospitality industry would get a significant boost.

"Because this is a consumer-oriented event without contracted room blocks, we won't know the exact visitor spending until the tournament concludes," Spyridon said. "The local organizing committee and staff could not have done a better job in managing the event. It is a testament to Nashville's reputation to be hosting an event of this caliber, and we have no doubt Music City will deliver the best Final Four ever."

NCAA Women's Final Four Economic Impact

Anticipated economic impact: $20-$25 million

Anticipated visitors: 20,000-30,000

Expected attendance: 18,500

Tickets remaining: Less than 150

Ticket info: http://www.ncaa.com/womens-final-four/tickets-hospitality

Source: Nashville Sports Council and NCAA

NCAA Women's Final Four Economic Impact

$20M-$25M: Anticipated economic impact

20K to 30K: Anticipated visitors

18,500: Expected attendance

< 150: Tickets remaining

Ticket info:

ncaa.com/womens-final-four/ tickets-hospitality

Source: Nashville Sports Council and NCAA

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