NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament games will highlight a flurry of activity in downtown Indianapolis this weekend, which Visit Indy expects to pack a $25 million economic punch. The city is hosting first- and second-round games for the first time since 2005, and Visit Indy Vice President Chris Gahl says having the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville in town makes the event an especially strong draw. Combining the NCAA, a major trade show at the Indiana Convention Center and St. Patrick’s Day events, Gahl expects 80,000 people downtown through the weekend.
Gahl says Visit Indy advertises in Louisville and Lexington all year, so having teams from those markets coming to Indianapolis made for a stronger message. He says "all seats and all suites" sold out almost immediately for the games at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse.
Although the NCAA’s headquarters are located in Indianapolis, Gahl says it’s important to show the organization that the city does not take its business for granted. He says Visit Indy has been "working for the last two years on this weekend." The city last hosted a Final Four in 2015.
In addition to the tournament games, the Work Truck Show continues at the Indiana Convention Center today. Last year’s event drew around 12,000 attendees, with organizers hoping to top that total this year. More than 500 companies, including 50 headquartered in Indiana, are exhibiting at the show.
The game schedule at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse is:
Friday, March 17th:
12:15 pm………………………(7) Michigan vs. (10) Oklahoma St.
Following Game 1………..(2) Louisville vs. (15) Jacksonville St.
7:10 pm…………………………..(7) Dayton vs. (10) Wichita State
Following Game 3….(2) Kentucky vs. (15) Northern Kentucky
Sunday, March 19th:
Time TBD…………………….Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2
Time TBD…………………….Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4
"we’ve been working for the last two years on this weekend"
First time Indy has had the first two rounds since 2005 (hosted Final Four in 2015)
Expecting 40,000 people (along with a trade show at the Indiana Convention Center and St. Patrick’s Day, 80,000 for the weekend)
Marketed to Louisville and Lexington…"make a weekend of it"…we already market to them
All seats and all suites were sold out quickly
We need to make sure the NCAA knows we don’t take their business for granted, even though we’re based here