NCAA regional tourney promises big economic boost to downtown Indy

Published: .
Updated: .

March Madness has arrived in Indianapolis. The NCAA Midwest Regional games tip off tonight at Lucas Oil Stadium. Not only are there powerhouse match-ups on the court, but also some huge celebrations downtown.

Having that strong rivalry being dubbed by some as the Battle of the Bluegrass between Kentucky and Louisville only boosts what's expected to be some big numbers from fans who love to travel and don't have that far to drive. 

Georgia Street is ready to host a couple of tailgate parties Friday. On the West block, the Bud Light Tailgate Party, sponsored by Emmis Communications, runs from noon to 9:00 pm. It includes music, food, games and the event is free. On the east block, the Kilroy's Sweet 16 Tent Party and that starts an hour earlier at 11:00 am.

More than 40,000 fans are expected to pack into downtown starting today for the big games.  Quite a few fans started arriving Thursday to get a look at their favorite teams on the hardwood from a free front row seat.  Practices were open to the public and fans loved the opportunity to watch some action in person that they may not have a ticket to see come game time. 

Businesses are loving it, too. They plan to cash in before, during and after the big games.

"All those people will probably have a meal or a beverage before tip off at 7:15 for the first game.  So, the direct visitor impact is estimated at $20 million, which is a significant weekend for all of us here," said John Dedman, Indiana Sports Corp.

Don't forget that other big event going on just a couple blocks away this weekend at Bankers Life featuring the state high school championships and Indy's own Arsenal Tech Titans going for it all.  It's just a smash hit no matter how you slice it!

More info here on this weekend's events