In a rare circumstance, Pine Bluff residents may consider routing against the home team in the lead up to the upcoming 4A state basketball tournament at the Pine Bluff Convention Center.

In a rare circumstance, Pine Bluff residents may consider routing against the home team in the lead up to the upcoming 4A state basketball tournament at the Pine Bluff Convention Center.

Then again, maybe not.

But there will be some consolation if the local teams don’t go all the way: the knowledge that the out-of-town teams and their fans will be in Pine Bluff, spending their tourism dollars at local hotels, restaurants and businesses.

Convention Center Director Bob Purvis estimated the possible crowd at 1,000 to 2,000 during the tournament, which will be Feb. 28-March 3.

“The crowd and the economic impact they have can vary as much as two-thirds, depending on who’s in and who’s winning,” Purvis said. “If the schools are local or from the region, they might not spend the night, but if we have a team from across the state, that will mean hotel rooms, breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

The expenditures will not only help local business, but the Advertising and Promotion taxes paid on hotel stays and prepared meals will go back into future Convention Center events, grants for local projects and other activities that promote tourism.

Every little bit helps, Purvis said, especially considering that tournaments are not an especially expensive event for the Convention Center to host.

Purvis said it has been three years since the last time the Convention Center hosted a state basketball tournament, and staff are currently busy pulling equipment out of storage, checking that they have backups for everything and checking the functionality of things like the scoreboards, bleachers and lights. No costly changes will be required to the building’s structure or the striping on the floor.

Other prep work will include locating groups to do the concessions, finding the teams places to stay and hiring extra employees like scorekeepers.

“One of the best things about it is that it’s fun, and it’s something to do for the people who live in this area,” Purvis said. “In years past, the tickets have been about $7, and that allows you to watch all the games that day if you want.”

White Hall High School is the official host for the tournament, an honor it was awarded by the Arkansas Activities Association Board of Directors in January.

“I think it’s great for Pine Bluff. The Convention Center is a great place to play basketball, and it will be great for us,” White Hall boys basketball coach Joe Stacey said at the time of the announcement.

There will be four boys games and four girls games on Wednesday and Thursday during the tournament and two boys games and two girls games on Saturday, according to the Activities Association’s website.

White Hall High School will also host the 2A state baseball tournament. Also in Southeast Arkansas, Fordyce will host the 3A state basketball tournament during the same dates as the one in Pine Bluff.