Economic boost expected as March Madness takes over downtown Orlando



ORLANDO, Fla. - March Madness is taking over downtown Orlando.

Four of the NCAA games will be played at the Amway Center Thursday.

Only a handful of cities get to take part in the games, and that is a big deal for basketball fans in town.  Local leaders said the national attention the tournament will bring to the arena makes Orlando a big winner.

"We had tickets quite a while ago. We knew we were coming. [It] didn't make any difference who played," said fan Bill Humphrey.

March Madness will find a home in Orlando for the first time in 10 years. The NCAA basketball tournament is what college basketball fans wait for every year, and the Amway Center will get a piece of the action.

"[It] gives us an opportunity to showcase the arena. [It] gives us an opportunity to showcase our ability to host large events, welcome visitors, and puts us kind of an audition for bigger, better events to come," said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs.

The fever in Orlando tips off after 1:30 p.m. Thursday, when Colorado and Pittsburgh fans watch their teams go head to head.

After that, Florida Gator fans will watch their team take on Albany.

"Today was a nail biter, but I bought my tickets months ago hoping they would be here and I'm so excited to get to see them," said Gator fan Wendy Connor.

Local business owners said they are excited too because more foot traffic means more money.