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MSP ready to welcome Big 10 Women’s Basketball Tournament teams and fans

The MAC and MSP Airport (MSP) are once again rolling out the red carpet for a major Twin Cities sporting event. The upcoming Big 10 Women's Basketball Tournament will be held in Minneapolis March 1-5.

An estimated 7,000 people are expected to visit the Twin Cities – just before the busy spring break travel season – for the tournament at Target Center that will showcase five of the top 15 women's basketball teams in the country.

While that's a small number compared with the tens of thousands who came for last year's Women's NCAA Final Four basketball tournament and the Super Bowl in 2018, the event will help the MAC and MSP hone their big-event welcoming skills.

"This isn't about volume – it's about us preparing for and making sure we are a good partner with Meet Minneapolis to showcase our greatest strength, which is to come together as a community to prepare for a unique event," said Phil Burke, assistant director of Customer Experience for the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which owns and operates MSP.

MSP branding
The teams and fans will be greeted with welcome messages that will all include MSP branding, which wasn't always the case in the past.

"We're really proud to have that MSP logo on all Big 10 signage here at the airport as well as at other tournament events and on our website," said Tyler Boike, the sports operations manager with Meet Minneapolis. "We're working to provide some value back to the airport so our partnership will continue with future events."

(Next year, the Twin Cities will host both the men's and women's Big 10 basketball tournaments on back-to-back weeks.)

Fans and teams will be welcomed on the Arrivals Level of Terminal 1 by DJ Mickey Breeze on Thursday (March 2) from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and by DJ Hayes on Friday (March 3) from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. A fun "surprise and delight" basketball game will also be set up on both days on the Arrivals Level.

Thirteen games will be held over the five days of the tournament with all games broadcast on the Big 10 Network except the championship game that will be on ESPN.

"In terms of national attention, this event will have a lot of eyes on it with some great teams," said Boike.