LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It's a huge boost for the local economy: The NCAA tournament 2nd and 3rd rounds could feature as many as three Kentucky schools right here in Louisville this week at the KFC Yum! Center.
With Murray State, possibly Western Kentucky and of course, the Number 1 overall seed in the Kentucky Wildcats; their fans and Big Blue Nation will be here in force, spending money in bars and restaurants like never before.
"To have the first major NCAA sporting event with us, It's spectacular," said Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Vice President Karen Williams-Goetz.
As the NCAA puts it's mark on the KFC Yum! Center, it's tournament is about to transform the business climate in downtown Louisville.
The Big Dance brings eight teams and thousands of fans here. It's what operators of bars, restaurants and hotels have been waiting for ever since they opened shop around the arena.
While single University of Louisville games, concerts and conventions have brought in big crowds, juggling multiple game times and all the fans will be a different ball game.
"The only difference this time, " said Doc Crows General Manager Garret Petters, " there are several games so instead of just having one rush for one game, we'll have games throughout the day so, we're just going to plan on being busy all day."
Willams-Goetz added, "They could potentially be busy from noon all the way to 11 at night."
And, any city that gets Big Blue Nation in the Big Dance knows, that means plenty of green.
"We've already heard from the University of Kentucky about coming here and we've got a lot of people wanting to do large parties, " Petters told WAVE 3 News.
Doc Crows certainly fits the bill with it's large restaurant. Besides shucking oysters, the staff has been preparing for the staggering number of fans that will be in town for the games.
So have their neighboring merchants--like the Troll Pub Under the Bridge.
Troll Pub Assistant General Manager Johnny Morgan said of the NCAA tourney, "Not only is it good for our business but, I think a lot of people are going to be super excited to have so many local teams represented."
The Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau tells us, the eight teams and each entourage are booked in their hotels. Add the fan base and the estimated economic impact exceeds $3 million.
Williams-Goetz said, "Let's face it, people are going to come in that don't even have a ticket and will not get a ticket and they're just going to be hovering around, so that synergy and energy downtown will be great." She says, it will transform the area around the arena into a festival-like atmosphere.
All the bars and restaurants will get their share of business. The University of Kentucky Alumni Association tells WAVE 3 News, Patrick O'Shea's will be their fan headquarters.
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