Big Dance brings in big bucks for local bars

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Five Indiana teams are playing in this year’s NCAA tournament, which means local bars and restaurants are preparing for a huge turnout over the next few days.

Indiana University, Butler, Purdue, Valparaiso and Notre Dame are all playing in the Big Dance over the next couple days. O’Reilly’s Irish Pub and Restaurant spent the last couple days taking down St. Patrick’s Day decorations and putting up brackets across the restaurant to get ready for the basketball fans.

“We’ll make sure that we have every hand on deck just to make sure that everybody’s provided with excellent service,” said Dawn Hunter, with O’Reilly’s.

Buffalo Wild Wings on Maysville Rd. will be adding extra staff and will have extra food and drinks on hand for basketball fans.

Last year, no Indiana made it to the NCAA tournament, which was bad business for Buffalo Wild Wings.

“Without having that local team for everyone to root for, I think our sales were down, and we’re looking to change that this year,” said Adam Corrao, Buffalo Wild Wings manager.

Corrao said Thursday and Friday will be busier than normal due to most of the Indiana teams playing those days.

“It’s obviously a big increase over a normal week, especially on Thursday and Friday with a lot of people taking off work and spending the entire day here watching all the games,” he said.

Three of the five Indiana teams play Thursday. Just after noon, Notre Dame will play Northeastern. At 2:45 p.m., Butler will take on Texas. Purdue and Cincinnati will play at 7:15 p.m. And, number one seed Kentucky will take on 16 seed Hampton. All the games will air on WANE-TV.

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