INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 6, 2015) - When Kentucky got knocked out of the NCAA tournament Saturday night, some downtown business managers feared a slowdown as Kentucky fans left town.
“Yeah, I thought there might be a little bit of a drop off because Kentucky, everybody knows they travel so well,” said downtown Hooters General Manager Brian McCabe.
But after going over the numbers from Sunday and most of Monday, McCabe’s worries have eased.
“There’s been no drop off,” McCabe said. “Wisconsin people have been here, they’ve been great. The numbers have been really hot.”
Managers at nearby Harry and Izzy’s say the same thing.
“Every final four, you lose two teams so we knew they’d fill in,” said Chris Clifford. “I mean there were a lot of Kentucky fans here, but it seems that the cancellations we had filled right back up with Wisconsin and Duke fans.”
“Saturday we saw maybe maybe 80 to 85 percent Kentucky and then yesterday it switched over to mainly Wisconsin fans,” McCabe said.
They can thank fans like Erik Brattset, who wasn’t in Indianapolis for the semifinal games. But when his Wisconsin Badgers knocked off Kentucky, he didn’t want to miss a chance to see them play for their first national title in more than 70 years.
“We were just at Easter brunch and we were just thinking about it,” Brattset said. “Me and my sister just kind of looked at each other like we have to do it.”
Brattset said he was able to book his hotel room over the phone during the 5-and-a-half hour drive from Wisconsin.
But there are also plenty of Kentucky fans still hanging out in downtown Indy.
Jordan Amburgey doesn’t plan to go to Monday night’s championship game, but he’s still proudly wearing his Kentucky gear around downtown Indianapolis. He says he wants to continue enjoying the atmosphere for one more night.
“The environment is just something you don’t see every day,” Amburgey said. “I was at Dallas for the Final Four last year and this, this smokes it.”
If the current pace holds up and Harry and Izzy’s continues doing double their normal business, they won’t be alone. City officials expect this Final Four to eventually pump $70 million into the local economy, compared to about $55 million in 2010.