Every spring, the Western PA Bruins Tip-Off brings joy, economic growth, and a diverse group of young women’s basketball stars to the Pittsburgh area.
With more than 280 teams competing in last year’s event and more on the way this year, the Western PA Bruins Tip Off will be mightier than ever when it takes place at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on April 14-16, 2023.
When it comes to the Tip-Off, Jennifer Hawkins, Executive Director of SportsPITTSBURGH, has seen firsthand just how much one event can help the city.
“Women’s basketball is so important, and we know there is a new spotlight shining on women’s and girls basketball right now,” Hawkins told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “The Western PA Bruins Tip-Off is a really important cultural aspect for the city of Pittsburgh. It is a way that we touch a diverse group of neighborhoods, a diverse group of residents and visitors for the Pittsburgh region. It’s an opportunity for our partners – SportsPITTSBURGH, the convention center, Western PA Bruins, and all of our hospitality partners – to truly come together and welcome such a diverse group of girls and their families to Pittsburgh, to the city of Champions.”
On the economic side, the Tip-Off has brought in millions of dollars to the city over the past few years – and it’s still growing. Despite the event falling on Easter weekend last season which lead to a shorter average stay of the competitors, the city still saw immense growth in numerous industries.
“From an economic impact standpoint, we are seeing it grow,” Hawkins added. “In 2022, it brought in around 3.11 million dollars in economic impact throughout our community. Those are direct dollars put back into the community for that event. The benefit of these grassroots tournaments – like the Western PA Bruins Tip-Off – is that it’s not just the nearby properties. We know that when you have the number of teams and people that are coming in – I think in ‘22 it had about 287 teams, that equated to about 5,300 people from out of town that were here for at least one night, but most for an average of a 1.8-night stay. They stayed in properties that ranged from downtown properties right by the airport, out to the airport, and also the Oakland area and out east.”
Whether the teams were going to restaurants, hospitality businesses, hotels, movie theaters, or other events, the Tip-Off once again succeeded in its efforts to create an enjoyable women’s basketball weekend in Pittsburgh.
“For sports players, it’s a dream,” she said. “There’s over one million square feet of space in the convention center, and it’s all flexible. We can build out just about any type of sports venue just within that space. Being able to go in and put in about 27 courts (for 2022), it’s something for people to see. For people to see elite women’s basketball being played on 27 courts at the same time, if you haven’t had the chance to experience it yet, it’s really something you need to come see.”