NCAA Tournament's A Chance To Show Off Lexington

Mar 20, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Kentucky may not be making an appearance on the hardwood at Rupp Arena, but the second and third-rounds of the 2013 NCAA tournament this week promise large crowds and a sizeable economic boost for Lexington.

The Bucknell Bison hit the court for practice day ahead of the NCAA second and third-round games set to begin Thursday.
The Bucknell Bison hit the court for practice day ahead of the NCAA second and third-round games set to begin Thursday.
Credit Josh James / WUKY

It’s not game day just yet, but business is already picking up at a t-shirt stand inside Rupp Arena, where a group of Colorado State cheerleaders is busy snapping up souvenirs.

"Today is our hang out day so we're going around downtown and we're just going to shop around and explore Kentucky and all the different things it has to offer," says Molly Sniadach.

She's one of the visitors Lexington officials and business owners hope will provide an economic shot in the arm for the city. Martha Verbrugge flew in from Pennsylvania in support of the Bucknell Bison, but her experience won’t be limited to an arena seat.    

"We're now headed to the Visitor Center so we can all pick up our maps and brochures and whatever else we need," she says.

Just how much will all this be worth to the city? Well, that’s what a lot of people are trying to figure out. The Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau is currently working with UK to formulate a better tracking method, but until then, analysts have to go by word-of-mouth from local hotels and restaurants, as well as ticket sales, which Rupp Arena expects will top $4M for all three sessions. Only 10 percent of that goes to the Lexington Center, however.

The first game kicks off Thursday at 12:40 and the last will take place on Saturday.