Big bracket goes up downtown as Indy prepares to host Final Four

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 13, 2015)-- We're roughly three weeks away from the Final Four, and those championship games will be played right here in Indianapolis. Of course, brackets are a big part of the March Madness fun. And we've got a big one of our own right on the front of the JW Marriott downtown.

It's no mirage. You can feast your eyes on a jumbo-sized bracket. It's a dream come true for March Madness lovers and a feather in the cap for the folks who designed it.

"I see this on my screen for months on end and to finally go downtown and see it on a building larger than life, that's what's fulfilling," said Kyle Eaker, Senior Creative Director with Sport Graphics.

Sport Graphics is based in Indy, and the company's very busy right now, producing graphics for the whole NCAA tournament. We're talking signs for the convention center, airport, arena, and not just here in Indianapolis, but in every city where divisional games will be held.

The idea for the bracket on the JW Marriott came up about two months ago, Eaker said.

"I've seen lots of graphics on the side of buildings. We produce lots of graphics on the side of buildings but not one that was interactive," said Michael Poe, Director of Signage and Production at Sport Graphics.

Yeah, that's right.

The huge bracket, 267 feet wide and 165 feet tall, will change with each round.

The work starts on Selection Sunday. The names of the teams will be printed on window vinyl and then Monday crews will paste the names of all 68 teams on the front of the hotel.

Each Monday the bracket will be updated with the weekend's results, tracking the road to the championship, that ends in Indianapolis.

"It's not only the quantity of visitors coming in for the Final Four. It's the quality of visitors," said Chris Gahl with Visit Indy.

Gahl said last minute meetings are underway to prepare for hosting the tournament.

He calls it a key opportunity for the city to court decision-makers, who may be willing to locate conventions or other high-profile events here.

Lodging downtown is already gone, Gahl said.

"Our hotel rooms downtown are virtually sold out. They have been for weeks. That's creating strong compression into our suburban hotels," he said.

And by the numbers, the city's 7th Final Four will be significant.

More than 800 members of the media are expected, along with more than 60,000 visitors. That will bring an estimated $70.8 million in economic impact, Gahl said.

They're big figures, complete with a big bracket.

"One of the most rewarding things is seeing your work, seeing the results of your work," said Eaker.

It's worth nothing that bracket's about the size of nine basketball courts and weighs as much as a car.

By Monday, you'll be able to watch as the names of all 68 teams go up.

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