BUTTE - Butte has not hosted a basketball tournament since 2019 but with the girls and boys Class AA returning, this week sports fans and the local economy can’t wait for tip-off.
“I just think it’s a great thing for Butte and it’s a time for our community to shine,” said Butte Civic Center Manager Bill Melvin.
The State AA Tournament is a three-day event featuring 16 teams from Billings to Kalispell playing games at the Butte Civic Center and Butte High School.
“And when you think of the money that’s brought into our community for this state tournament it’s huge, it is—we’re very lucky. It is a great deal for our hotels, for our restaurants, for our shopping,” said Director of the Butte Chamber of Commerce Stephanie Sorini.
Metals Sports Bar and Grill in Uptown Butte is already taking reservations from the teams coming to the tournament
“We’ll have probably, oh gosh, close to 2,000 people from now until then come through the doors, I mean, it’s tremendous,” said Metals General Manager Dave Andrews.
The increased business it welcomed, especially since the pandemic left Butte without basketball tournaments for the past two years.
“We’re very fortunate to have it and then it leads right into St. Patrick’s Day weekend, so that’s 10 days of intense business, which is good because we need it to help carry us over on some of those lean days, you know, the lean months,” said Andrews.
Some games will be ending late, so restaurants are encouraged to keep their doors open.
“If you can stay open a little later, if you’re going to do that, get the word to us and we will get it to the crowd,” said Melvin.
And large, hungry crowds are expected in the tournament that will continue until Saturday evening.