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INDIANAPOLIS — Fans from the universities of Michigan and Iowa are filling Indy’s hotels and packing downtown’s watering holes ahead of the Big Ten Championship football game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Local businesses expect the weekend to be the biggest cash haul from a sporting event since March Madness.

“Sports is a big part of what we do, and it’s easy to get excited about that staff wise,” explained Tina Crawford, director of sales and marketing with Hotel Indy.

This will be the first national sporting event for Hotel Indy. The new spot just opened in October on the corner of Washington Street and Delaware Street. All of their rooms are booked up this weekend except the presidential suites.

They say right now business has been about navigating the peaks and valleys. Generally the early part of the week is dead, while traffic picks up on the weekends. Any tips and tricks they learn from this weekend’s game will go toward preparation for the College Football Playoff National Championship Game that takes over Indy in January.

“Those big events don’t come around really often, so any practice you can get is good. We are very lucky to have a lot of practice here,” laughed Crawford.

Bars and restaurants are also expecting big sales this weekend. The District Tap downtown says the last Big Ten Championship brought in record sales for them. They are having to bring employees from other locations just to keep up with demand.

‘We have done a good job of handling volume, so if we can get through this, then we can get through the National Championship no problem,” detailed Darrell Kasmier, front of house manager at the District Tap downtown. “College football fans are crazy. I’m looking forward to their passion that we missed out on for a good while.”