The city of Dallas will get its turn in the March Madness spotlight Thursday.
The American Airlines Center will host the first two rounds of the NCAA Men's College Basketball Tournament. Eight teams and thousands of their fans will descend on North Texas hoping their team can stay alive in the "win or go home" tournament.
Monica Paul, the executive director of the Dallas Sports Commission, said putting on a good show this year is key in getting the tournament and the NCAA to come back to Dallas.
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"All of the fans from the eight schools will not only get to enjoy basketball but get to enjoy everything Dallas has to offer," she said.
For fans like Jonathan Aviles the anticipation has been building for several days. He visited the arena Wednesday to watch the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks practice.
"It's just the calm before the storm kind of feeling right now," he said. "Wait until tomorrow. Tomorrow everything, everywhere, will be full. The sea of purple will be here. You feel the buzz right now."
The city hopes the buzz translates into big bucks.
The sports commission estimates an $8 million economic impact this weekend - everything from hotel bookings to restaurant and ticket sales.
Security in and around the AAC will tight. Fans can expect a heavy police presence despite the Dallas Police Department being short hundreds of officers.
Having traveled to watch the Lumberjacks play in three other NCAA tournaments, Dwight Watson said he's used to seeing beefed up security.
"I'm not worried about anything happening. Seeing everyone loving their school, coming together to see whose the best, it's a big enjoyment," Watson said. "Axe em' 'Jacks!"
Tickets for this weekend's games are still available. For more information click here.