San Jose hosts games for NCAA tournament

March 17, 2010 7:20:48 PM PDT
The biggest tournament in college basketball begins Thursday, with first and second round play happening on courts around the country, including HP Pavilion in San Jose. The NCAA tournament is expected to bring big money to the South Bay.

Banners line the streets in downtown San Jose, welcoming the teams and their fans.

"Noticed it right away, we felt welcome; people helped us get to places like the Irish pub over here for St. Patrick's Day," one fan said.

NCAA host San Jose State University provides visiting teams and fans with information about the area.

"They ask about restaurants; 'How do you walk to HP Pavilion?'" host committee member Marilyn Gadway said.

"The women are all asking, 'We've been out side, there's not retail, so where do we go to shop, because there is nothing here,' so we're telling them about Santana Row," host committee member Stan Gadway said.

Restaurants will reap the biggest benefits.

"One place came in and ordered 20 sandwiches, 20 chips and 20 cookies; we've seen a few customers in between that, that's really good," Togo's assistant manager Jessica Jones said.

"Last night we had time to walk around and go to a movie, stuff like that," Butler Bulldog forward Gary Butcher said.

There were just a few fans in San Jose Wednesday, but they are expecting an influx of 10,000-12,000 out-of-towners this weekend.

Mayor Chuck Reed says they will spend quite a bit of money.

"Probably $20 million during the time of these tournaments will get spent in San Jose, so we get a good economic impact, and it's also good for publicity and national exposure, things like that," he said.


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