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Community support for the NCAA First Four in Dayton has surged in recent years, but it all started with a handful of organizations like Montgomery County.
That’s because county commissioners Debbie Lieberman, Judy Dodge and Dan Foley thought it was important to be involved from the beginning. The idea was that the national name recognition, economic impact and boost to community pride was worth the annual donation to the Local Organizing Committee.
“We get it,” Lieberman said. “We were one of the first to jump in, but it wasn’t even a question. It was just the right thing to do. It was an investment in the future.”
The First Four, the opening round of the college basketball tournament, has been held at UD Arena since its inception in 2011. The 2015 NCAA Tournament will tip-off March 17.
In the past four years, the number of sponsors/in-kind sponsors for the First Four has grown from fewer than 20 to nearly 80 organizations. The economic impact of the games, meanwhile, has grown to more than $4.5 million annually as visitors spend their money on hotels, restaurants and shopping.
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