Pittsburgh Welcomes NCAA DI Wrestling Championships

About 100,000 people are expected to attend the event

Shelby Cassesse
March 20, 2019 - 3:55 pm

Shelby Cassesse

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PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - City officials expect about 100,000 people in town this weekend for the NCAA DI Wrestling Championships.

Crews have transformed the floor of PPG Paints Arena from ice to eight wrestling mats in preparation for 330 wrestlers to compete beginning Thursday and ending Saturday with champions in each weight class and a team champion.

The University of Pittsburgh is the host school, and Athletic Director Heather Lyke says tickets for the event were in high demand. 

"A number of our key leaders and donors in the city have said to me 'Heather, if you thought Hamilton was hot, the NCAA wrestling ticket is ten times harder to get.'"

About 80% of the expected attendance is from out of town, and SportsPITTSBURGH representatives expect the event to bring about $8 million to Pittsburgh. 

The event is the first Division I event of the 22 NCAA events awarded to Pittsburgh in 2017.

Less than a half mile from PPG Paints Arena, the trial of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld continues, closing down streets on the perimeter of the Allegheny County Courthouse.

Dan Gilman, Chief of Staff to Mayor Bill Peduto, says Pittsburgh Public Safety is prepared to handle the trial and the tournament at the same time.

"We've obviously known the overlap of these two big events in the city at the same time for quite a while now, and our Pittsburgh Public Safety has been partnering with VisitPITTSBURGH and the NCAA to make sure they're having daily briefings."

He added officers will be on hand to manually control some of the downtown traffic lights, especially when team busses are coming through. 

A representative from PPG Paints Arena told KDKA Radio all parking lots around the arena, aside from the Melody Tent Lots on Bedford Avenue and Center Avenue, will be charging the event rate beginning at 5:00 a.m. on Thursday.