INDIANAPOLIS – The regional draw of Louisville and Michigan State and the national pull of Duke have driven up demand for hotel rooms and tickets to the NCAA men’s regional basketball tournament this weekend in Indianapolis, city tourism officials and ticket brokers said Monday.
“In terms of hotel rooms, we expect Thursday through Sunday to be a virtual sellout downtown,” Chris Gahl, spokesman for Visit Indy, the city’s tourism arm, told the Indianapolis Business Journal (http://bit.ly/16dlStZ ). “We expect the demand to push out this weekend quite a bit into the suburbs. After the teams qualified for the regional on Saturday and Sunday, we saw a definite uptick in room reservations in the suburban hotels.”
Louisville plays Oregon and Duke plays Michigan State on Friday. The winners play Sunday for a berth in the Final Four in Atlanta.
The Hyatt Regency in downtown Indianapolis just blocks from the games at Lucas Oil Stadium saw a “considerable” increase in reservation requests from the Louisville and East Lansing, Mich., areas over the weekend, General Manager Brian Comes said.
“We think this is a terrific bracket with a lot of intrigue. And having two teams with large followings within a short drive of here makes it that much better,” Comes said.
A National Society of Black Engineers convention also is expected to draw more than 9,000 people to Indianapolis Wednesday through Saturday.
Local ticket brokers said Duke was sparking interest not only from Duke alumni and supporters in North Carolina but also from basketball fans in general in Indianapolis and central Indiana.
Upper-level, all-session tickets with a face value of $90 were selling for $125 and higher Monday, and lower-level tickets with a face value of $160 were selling for $350 and higher, said Scott Kinnett, principal with Sport Events Ltd.
“The demand is actually better than I thought,” Kinnett said.
Information from: Indianapolis Business Journal, http://www.ibj.com