MINNEAPOLIS -- More than 90,000 people came to the Twin Cities during the NCAA Final Four, pumping a net of $143 million into the local economy, according to initial projections released recently by local organizers.

The men’s college basketball event was held April 5-8 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, the second marquee event the stadium has hosted since opening in 2016.

Last year, the venue hosted Super Bowl LII, which was estimated to lure about 125,000 people and generate a net economic impact of about $400 million.

Calculating the economic impact of massive events is a tricky and sometimes controversial endeavor, but those sets of figures are about as much of an apples-to-apples comparison as possible. The same company, Pennsylvania-based Rockport Analytics, conducted both studies.

The other biggie the area has recently hosted, the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, hasn’t had a comparable economic impact study, but various estimates have put the impact somewhere in the range of $100 million to $125 million.

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Money spent vs. money lost

It costs money to host something like the Final Four, which encompassed three basketball games, resulting in the crowning of the University of Virginia as national champs over Texas Tech. And we’re not talking about adding seats, although the event did set the U.S. Bank Stadium attendance record of 72,711.

A general view of US Bank Stadium during the April 8 championship game of the 2019 men's Final Four between the Virginia Cavaliers and the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Brace Hemmelgarn / USA TODAY Sports
A general view of US Bank Stadium during the April 8 championship game of the 2019 men's Final Four between the Virginia Cavaliers and the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Brace Hemmelgarn / USA TODAY Sports

For example, all those folks coming into town for the hoops hoopla effectively drove away other tourists, either by virtue of hotel rooms being booked or just folks who don’t want to deal with crowds that weekend.

Some $19.7 million in “displaced tourism” was estimated by Rockport. That’s a loss to the economy. (It compares with $40 million in displaced tourism during the snowy February 2018 Super Bowl week.)

But the loss was more than offset by the gains: $154.6 million in “Final Four-initiated local spending” — money that Rockport estimated would not have been spent if the event had been held elsewhere.

Another “loss” in the ledger column: All those chicken wings and workers that were brought in from outside the area — and resulted from money “leaking” out of the local economy. That was about $29.5 million.

That figure was offset by a $35.9 million “ripple effect” on the local economy, as local folks made money, and then spent it locally. (Cops work overtime, donut shops do better — hypothetical example.)

Speaking of police officers, local governments shoulder major costs to staff and secure such events. But they also bring in more money. Rockport estimates that state and local sales tax income jumped $23 million as a result of the Final Four.

Basketball fans pose in front of a banner before the April 8 championship game between the Virginia Cavaliers and Texas Tech Red Raiders. Brace Hemmelgarn / USA TODAY Sports
Basketball fans pose in front of a banner before the April 8 championship game between the Virginia Cavaliers and Texas Tech Red Raiders. Brace Hemmelgarn / USA TODAY Sports

In the end, more than 91,000 people boosted the “Gross Metro Product” by $143.1 million, Rockport said.

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority — the government agency that owns and runs the stadium — found itself with a $1 million budget surplus, which it said will go toward paying off Final Four expenses.

The local organization that helped organize and raise funds for the Final Four — the 2019 Minneapolis Local Organizing Committee — said it will close its doors at the end of the month proud of what it accomplished.

Kate Mortenson, president and CEO of the group, said this in a statement Tuesday: “2019 Final Four was a fantastic opportunity for our city and region to welcome fans from near and far to experience what is special about Minnesota. Hosting this iconic sports event brought with it many ways to celebrate the culmination of March Madness that were available to everybody.”