WAILUKU - The EA Sports Maui Invitational brought more than 5,000 visitors, including college basketball fans, coaches, players and sports media, to the Valley Isle and generated $8.1 million for the island's economy, according to an announcement from KemperLesnik, operator of the annual tournament hosted by Chaminade University.
The dollar figure for the tournament's economic impact came from data released by the Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau, which said the event at the Lahaina Civic Center was attended by 5,115 people, with 75 percent being out-of-state fans and 25 percent from Hawaii.
The tournament "provided a tremendous economic benefit to many businesses on the island, including hotels, restaurants and local retailers," said Terryl Vencl, the bureau's executive director. "Each year, our residents and businesses welcome thousands of visitors to the island to enjoy the tournament and experience everything it has to offer."
Last year, the tournament ended with Duke beating Kansas 68-61 in the title game.
According to KemperLesnik, the tournament also brought Maui worldwide television exposure, with more than 2 million households and 8.6 million viewers watching the late-November basketball action live on ESPN.
Tournament officials and Chaminade also conducted free basketball clinics for youths, and the EA Sports Maui Invitational sponsored a charity free-throw contest.