Several large sporting events will take place in North Texas this weekend and are expected to draw fans and athletes from across the country.
In Fort Worth, the U.S. Gymnastics Championships are being held at Dickies Arena through Sunday and the TCU baseball team is hosting a regional in the NCAA Baseball Tournament.
Kristi Setzer, a general manager with Buffalo Bros., said the packed sports weekend would mean a busy few days for them too. Another event likely to draw a crowd to their bars on TCU’s campus and in Sundance Square in Fort Worth is the Mavericks-Clippers game Friday night.
“For us, it’s going to be huge in a very, very positive way,” Setzer said. “It’s something we count on, especially being sports-driven."
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Asked how their business prepared for the weekend, Setzer answered “buy a lot of chicken” followed by a chuckle.
“Get the staff excited. Get them part of the atmosphere. We have a lot of sports-centric servers, bartenders. From there, get the bodies in the right place. Make sure our TVs are on the right programing,” she went on to say. “Get everyone excited. It’s the [most fun] thing about working in a sports bar. It’s not just ‘Can I get you an appetizer?’ It’s 'Hey, did you see that awesome play?,' getting your guests involved in it.”
Tourism leaders in Fort Worth have been anticipating a robust season for travel, as restrictions that were in place due to the coronavirus pandemic have eased. Mitch Whitten, executive vice president of marketing and strategy for Visit Fort Worth, said this was a "peak weekend" for the city.
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“We’ve been running about 50% hotel occupancy really through spring and this weekend, many of them are about 80% full. That’s about the best we have seen in a year,” Whitten said. “No one does hospitality better than Fort Worth.”
Pre-pandemic, Whitten said about 9 million people visited Fort Worth each year. They are expecting to exceed that in 2021, he said.