March Madness

By WVUA 23 Student Reporter Bryn Caswell

March Madness is here, and the Alabama men’s basketball team is making a return to the NCAA Tournament Thursday in Pittsburgh.

It’s the Crimson Tide’s first entrance since 2012, and the team’s success might have an economic impact on both Tuscaloosa and Pittsburgh.

When one of UA’s athletic programs excels, so too does the rest of Tuscaloosa.

This week is spring break for much of Alabama, but that’s not slowing Tuscaloosans from showing up at local businesses to watch and cheer on the Tide men’s basketball team.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve been in the tournament, and everyone’s been waiting to have a good basketball team,” said Buffalo Wild Wings bartender Kevin Frost.

The restaurant is expecting a big turnout for the Tide’s first tournament turn Thursday.

Alabama’s basketball revenue is obviously not on the same scale as Alabama football, but the future is looking up. Football season brings in business on fall weekends, but basketball can happen any time of the week.

“Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday basketball games or whatnot,” Frost said. “That just gives you more days to come in, have a beer, watch sports, eat some wings.”

And sports fans spending money means good things for Tuscaloosa.

“People flock to bars and restaurants,” said Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama CEO and President Jim Page. “They want to watch with friends and family, and they spend money. The longer they are in the tournament, the more revenue we will see out of it.”

The Crimson Tide tips off against Virginia Tech Thursday at 8:20 p.m. Watch it on TNT.

Categories: Archives, Local News