Arlington Hopes to Score Big With NCAA Tournament

Businesses have high expectations going into Sweet 16 weekend

The city of Arlington is no rookie when it comes to hosting major sporting events.

From a Super Bowl, college football bowl games, World Series and now the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament basketball games, businesses score big when the big game -- whatever sport it may be -- is in town.

“Obviously we've hosted several events and we do them pretty well, I'd say,” said Decima Cooper with Experience Arlington, the city’s visitor’s bureau. “Tourism is vital to this city. This goes to show that the more we bring in, the better it gets.”

This weekend, Cowboys Stadium will once again play host to a major event – the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight rounds of the NCAA tournament.

 “Our sales jump dramatically. They'll probably go up 30 percent in sales from the previous year,” said Richard Chavez, owner of Mavericks Bar and Grill in downtown Arlington, just one mile from Cowboys Stadium.

As Cowboys Stadium prepares for this weekend's games, hotels are filling up fast. Experience Arlington says 87 percent of the rooms are reserved and they expect those reservations to jump to 97 percent by Thursday.

“We are expecting a lot of reservations, a lot of fans,” said Norma Ventrca, director of sales and marketing at the Sheraton Hotel in Arlington.

And fans are expected to follow. The big basketball schools of Kansas, Florida and Michigan bring great fan bases that travel to support their teams.

Then there's Florida Gulf Coast University, the Cinderella team of this year's tournament.

“We prepare for this way in advance,” said Ventrca. “We do our research and once we find out who the teams are and who is coming to the city to play, we found out the teams were traveling very well,” which could mean a layup for businesses.

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