NCAA Sweet 16 to bring $20M in tourism dollars to downtown Indy

INDIANAPOLIS - Downtown Indianapolis will be packed with thousands of college hoop fans this weekend for the Midwest leg of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

With three of the four teams within driving distance of Indianapolis set to play, downtown restaurants and hotels are expecting a tourism boost.

On Friday, the University of Tennessee will take on the University of Michigan before archrivals University of Louisville and University of Kentucky tip-off at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Indiana Sports Corp. Spokesman John Dedman said that all four teams have large followings.

"We're really ready to welcome four teams and four fan bases to Indianapolis and have a great event over at Lucas Oil Stadium," Dedman said.

Over the next few days leading up to the Sweet Sixteen, Lucas Oil Stadium will convert its football field into a basketball court.

Chris Gahl with Vist Indy said the basketball fans will likely bring a $20 million economic impact to the Circle City. A majority of those dollars are expected to come from Louisville and Kentucky fans.

"Louisville versus Kentucky is a big rivalry. In addition, those are two markets with fan bases that can easily drive to Indianapolis to see the games," Gahl said.

Tip-off time is 7:15 p.m. Friday for the Tennessee vs. Michigan game and 9:45 p.m. for the Louisville vs. Kentucky game.

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