INDIANAPOLIS — 67 teams have already arrived in Indianapolis and the final team, Virginia, is set to arrive on Friday.
Between student-athletes, team staff and NCAA staff, thousands of visitors are already in the city and the fans are not even here yet.
The influx is a major win for industries that have been struggling.
“The revenue of employment loss in hotels is the most challenging issue that Indiana’s hospitality industry faces,” said Patrick Tamm, president and CEO of the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association.
However, Tamm said Indiana is doing much better than the overwhelming majority at this time.
“Indianapolis specifically, the core downtown hotels, we’re hiring," Tamm said. "You cannot find another market in the country or the world with group convention hotels that need employees at this time.”
Right now four hotels nearby the convention center, the Westin, the Hyatt, the Marriot Downtown and the JW Marriot are filled with individuals that are part of the NCAA tournament in some way.
NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball, Dan Gavitt, said teams are doing a lot of takeout orders to their hotels when they can.
"We have also seen an enormous number of deliveries arranged by teams and even individual student-athletes and coaches," Gavitt said. "We know this is true also because frankly the trash that has been accumulated on each of the team floors has been enormous with all the takeout packages and the like."
Teams are required to use the hotels for two of their three meals but many are turning to Indianapolis restaurants for that third meal. Adding to an upturn for the industry that Tamm says is already in progress.
"In the last 30 days, however, Indiana restaurants have specifically turned a strong corner," Tamm said. "While we are significantly off pre-pandemic revenue levels, we are significantly better than our national peers and far and away the number 1 seed if you will in the Midwest in terms of revenue and sales."