Area hotels go all out to welcome state teams

ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (WBAY) - The Green Bay area's version of March Madness is underway at the Resch Center.

As we told you Wednesday, the WIAA has agreed to continue hosting the Girls State Basketball Tournament at the Resch Center through 2025.

The contract extension also covers girls and boys volleyball.

Area hotels played a major role in securing the WIAA's long-term commitment.

Ever since the girls state basketball tournament arrived in 2013, the Wingate by the airport has hosted a team.

And whether it's the decorations and school colors in the lobby or team meeting room, the official welcome is on full display.

"They walk in and immediately their phones are out and they're videotaping it and we see that they send it to their friends, their parents, and it just makes them feel welcome, makes them feel special -- and they should, they should be proud, this is their time to shine," says Wingate General Manager Kelly Losey.

At the Hampton Inn, where two teams are staying, hotel staff catches tournament fever.

"We usually get pins, key cards, so the staff can wear the tournament pin, the key cards we hand out, we have the elevator clings, one year we had T-shirts made that represented the tournament, so yeah, they buy right in and we back our teams all the way to the championship game," says Ron Zellers, Hampton Inn general manager.

Along with the fun in hosting teams, Zellers says having a piece of the $2.5 million the tournament generates is a welcome addition to the March budget.

"Without different events in the area that are happening, it's hard to get people to come to Green Bay on a Thursday or Friday night in this type of temperature, this type of weather," says Zellers.

With the state tournament now secured through 2025, hotels say they have no plans of taking their state tournament business for granted.

"I'm not going to ever take it down a notch. We want them to keep coming back to Green Bay," says Losey.

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