NCAA tournament creates boom for local businesses

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Updated: 3/23/2013 11:02 pm
The last time Lubbock brought in the NCAA tournament to the United Spirit Arena was four years ago. When Texas Tech Athletics found out about hosting again, the preparations kicked in months ago. 

"Anytime ESPN is in the house, it's a big deal for your university and for the schools participating," Associate Athletics Director Blayne Beal said. "Not only for visibility of our basketball program, but visibility for our United Spirit Arena to attract more events, as well as for our city. So, the national coverage is tremendous all the way around."

With the buzz of thousands coming in across the U.S., businesses started gearing up. 

"We've worked really closely with Tech on getting this tournament here," Marcie Reno, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Overton Hotel, said. "They needed hotel partners, they needed bus transportation partners. So, we've known that it's been coming for a while. But when things like this come through Tech, we're really excited about it, because we know it's going to be a boost to our business."

With two other local events taking place this weekend, Reno said they've been sold out. 

"This is just a big weekend in town, so we've really tried to kind of divide up the room blocks to allow and save some of those last minute rooms for the basketball people coming in, because we knew they wouldn't find out about it until Wednesday of this week," Reno said.

Those hotel guests will also be looking for some entertainment, and places like Cricket's Grill and Draft House made sure they are ready for the rush. 

"We look at the times that the basketball game is going on, or any sort of game is going on," Assistant Manager Eric Castillo said. "We like to staff accordingly, and have enough folks on so there's not a lot of a wait and we're not caught with our pants down, so to speak."

With more than 4,000 people expected to fill up the USA, these business owners are expecting a busy, yet rewarding weekend. 

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