Fans pack downtown Orlando for March Madness; street closures in place

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Getting around downtown Orlando could be tough Thursday as crews block off numerous streets for the NCAA tournament games.

March Madness took over Orlando as thousands of fans filled the streets and poured into the Amway Center to watch the games.

People wore colors for all of the teams playing but they were outnumbered by those wearing orange and blue.

“This looks more like the O’Connell Center than it does the Amway Center with all these Gator fans around here,” Gator fan Daniel Nieves said.

Nieves lives in Winter Haven and was thrilled when he found out his team would be playing so close to home.

“I wanted to come here so bad, now we’re here,” Nieves said.

Paula Meier, who lives in The Villages, was already making plans to come even before she knew who was playing.

“We were planning to come anyway because we’re basketball fans but this is a real bonus having the Gators here,” Meier said.

City officials have blocked off several streets, making it tough for some to get around.

“It was kind of hectic. You had to do some U-turns and stuff like that,” resident Tondia Collier said.

A full road closure of Division Avenue from Church Street to South Street will begin at 2 p.m. on March 18 and remain closed until Saturday, March 22 around 11 p.m.
 
A full road closure of Church Street between Division Avenue and Hughey Avenue will occur from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. on Wednesday, March 19; Thursday, March 20 and Saturday, March 22.

Other streets around the Amway Center will close on Thursday, March 20 and Saturday, March 22 for the NCAA Basketball Championship Games. As the game schedules are established, road closure times for additional streets will be determined and distributed.