IU vs Fort Wayne basketball game expected to bring thousands to Fort Wayne

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The IU/Fort Wayne Mastodons game is expected to be the biggest basketball event in the history of the Memorial Coliseum, and that can only mean good news for the city. Mastodon fans are ready to see the big face-off against the Indiana Hoosiers.

“It’s great. It’s good for the city. Everyone is going,” Soctt Vanbuskirk said.

“Having everyone come to Fort Wayne, you know, obviously IU has a pretty big following so getting all their fans up here in Fort Wayne kind of seeing how cool of a place Fort Wayne is will be good,” Matt Zedrick said.

Fort Wayne plays IU Tuesday night at the Coliseum. It’s the first time the team has been back since Bob Knight hosted scrimmages there. Those games drew some of the largest crowds in history along with an NBA game in the 60’s and a postseason NIT game when St. Louis and Notre Dame played in 2004. This is even bigger.

“It will be the biggest basketball event ever and you think of the history here, the Coliseum has got a great history,” Randy Brown said. Brown is the executive vice president and general manager for the Coliseum.

Of course, that means hundreds, possibly thousands of people coming to Fort Wayne.

“Huge economic impact, I don’t have an exact number but we know that 7,000 tickets are coming from IU Bloomington,” Brown said.

Those people could be staying in hotels, visiting restaurants and more.

“It’s a multiplier effect. They’ll buy gas, they’ll be stopping at the mall and all of that and economic impact what that really means is jobs for our friends and neighbors,” Brown said.

It’s been called a historic game and it’ll likely have a long-lasting impact.

“We just couldn’t be happier. And the best news? It’s sold out,” Brown said.

The game is at 9 p.m. and the Coliseum has issued travel alerts. They ask you to arrive early if you are going, and avoid the area, if not.