INDIANAPOLIS — The NBA All-Star Game is about a week away and businesses close to Gainbridge Fieldhouse are eager for the festivities to tip off.
"Bring it on," said Katelyn Cornelius, the general manager of nearby restaurant Pearl Street Pizzeria and Pub. "Let's see what they have for us."
Cornelius said the rush of tourists for All-Star Weekend could be a slam dunk for the restaurant's bank account, especially after the struggles they faced at COVID-19's peak.
"I think back to all of the loans we had to go through to stay alive.," Cornelius said. "To have big events like this, it's huge for little people like us."
The Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association said the basketball showcase could spark a more permanent boost in the food and hospitality industries if Indianapolis makes a great impression on tourists.
"There's always pressure in getting it right, but at the same time, we've always gotten it right,' said Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association president Patrick Tamm. "We usually go above and beyond, and that's what you're going to see."
All hotels close to Gainbridge Fieldhouse have been fully booked for months, which Tamm sees as a preview for a flood of tourist money coming into Indiana.
"It's great for bartenders, servers, front desk folks, hospitality workers all throughout the spectrum," Tamm said. "They're going to have some great experiences and great paychecks."
For a guide to everything related to the NBA All-Star Game, click here.