NCAA tournament brings in more revenue than expected to Tucson businesses

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 9:09 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Wildcats hit the court Monday evening at McKale for the second round of the NCAA tournament.

It has been quite the excitement in Tucson as the men’s and women’s teams advance. Local business managers said business will continue to soar as long as the Wildcats pull out a win.

“We opened the gates at 11 a.m. today and there were already people lined up. There is a lot of stuff happening here like the Stanford-Arizona baseball game, the lady Wildcats play tonight,” said Frog & Firkin general manager Jonathan Graham.

It has been non-stop for local businesses on University Blvd. since the NCAA Tournament tipped off right here in Tucson last week.

“It is going to be boom, boom, boom, boom… Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday nonstop,” Graham said previously.

Now, he said, it’s crazier than expected.

“Everybody is ready to get out and back to normal and enjoy what they like to do which is watch the Wildcats win. When you have them both winning, man it is a recipe for success for sure. My staff? They are a little beat up and tired, but they understand,” he said.

As the Wildcats advance even further in the NCAA Tournament, Graham said, business will get even better.

Right next door is Illegal Pete’s. Manager April Ramirez agreed with Graham.

“So, right when we opened, we had a line out the door. People running to both bars claiming a spot so they can sit and watch the game. Then you would think you would get a little lull so you can recoup but we did not get to, so it was constant all day long,” she said.

Illegal Pete’s isn’t just for Wildcat fans, some of the Arizona men’s basketball players were there, too.

“Well, I just destroyed a carne asada quesadilla,” said Arizona Forward Jordan Mains.

“I like the sweet pork tacos. I just destroyed it,” said Arizona Guard Addison Arnold.

“Today I absolutely destroyed a burrito, said Arizona Guard Pelle Larsson.

Food and relaxation for these players. But Kerr Kriisa’s head is still in the game as his team heads to San Antonio to play in the Sweet 16.

“We are just basketball players who are representing their university really well right now.”

So what is the key to their successful season?

“Tommy Lloyd,” he replied.

And what Arizona fans can do to show support while they are on the road.

He said keep cheering them on while supporting local businesses on game day.

Arizona will play Houston in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Thursday at 6:59 p.m.

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