Basketball fans are expected to pack downtown Fort Worth starting Thursday. That's when SportsCenter begins airing live segments from Sundance Square for the Final Four.
Jamba Juice executives say the location at Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth could be the busiest store in the country the next few days.
That’s because the famous smoothie chain will serve up drinks to ESPN anchors and rapid college sports fan alike.
“We’re ready. It’s probably going to be warm, so they’re all going to be wanting smoothies,” said store manager Terrie Hyde.
In fact, there’s no closer business to the SportsCenter and College GameDay sets than the Jamba Juice location.
“It’s very exciting, we’ve got a lot of managers from other stores coming to help out, we’ve got great coverage in here. We’re ready to take care of everybody who comes in,” she said.
Terrie Hyde says she normally serves between 300-400 customers on a sunny, spring Saturday. This weekend—she’s expecting more than 1,000 customers each day SportsCenter goes live from the Square.
In fact, Jamba Juice is bringing in 10 other managers from other DFW locations to help with the expected crush of customers.
“It will definitely get packed in here,” Hyde said.
At the Cowtown Diner one block away from the Square, waiters are hoping to serve up big omelets to hungry fans—and walk away with even bigger tips.
“Every time that we have downtown packed, we make some money. And there’s going to be so many people here,” waiter Mike Murrell said with a smile.
“I hope everybody stops in here. It’s going to be crazy, it’s going to be hectic, we’re going to work really hard, but it’s going to be a blast,” Murrell added.
SportsCenter will start airing live segments from their Sundance Square on Thursday and they’ll broadcast live until Monday night.
Broadcasts Bring Spotlight to Fort Worth
Those broadcasts mean a lot of people will be seeing the backdrop of Main Street and the historic Tarrant County Courthouse throughout the weekend. That's not just good for area businesses, but the city's exposure as well.
"April is a very exciting month for Fort Worth," said Bob Jameson, president and CEO of the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau.
It's not the first time ESPN has called Sundance Square its temporary broadcast home. Three years ago the network used the Fort Worth mural as its backdrop during Super Bowl coverage as well. And so some businesses aren't just looking for big business this weekend, but some redemption.
"It has been three years since the Super Bowl and of course we all know the weather played a big part in that," Steve Gomez, manager of Retro Cowboy, said. "And we were always hoping for a redo and now we get our chance. We're hoping for good weather and good sales."
It's not just a chance to sell wares and food.
"We sell Fort Worth and Texas, we're hoping for out of towners," Gomez said.
It's also a chance to sell the city to others who might wish to hold conventions and events.
"It's going to send a message out across the country that Fort Worth is really a destination," Jameson said.
Fort Worth will also be a destination for NASCAR this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Jameson said almost all the hotel rooms in the central district are booked. And this weekend sidewalks and patios will be busy thanks to the broadcasts and basketball.
"We’re very grateful that AT&T Stadium is located as close to Fort Worth as it is," Jameson said. "Any time there's activity, whether it's on this scale or even something to a lesser degree, we certainly see people with an int erst coming to Fort Worth because we have such proximity."
Those looking to drive close to the ESPN broadcasts, won't get such proximity though. The city established a "clean zone" around the square to prevent outside sales, giveaways, signs and traffic from interfering with the broadcasts. Sections of Main Street, Third Street and Fourth Street will be closed starting on Friday for the network's broadcasts.
NBC 5's Chris Van Horne contributed to this report.