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March Madness brings business to San Jose

March 19, 2010 12:46:00 AM PDT
March Madness has come to San Jose. The city is hosting the opening rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament. The competition to get a piece of this event is fierce and it is great for local sports fans and great for local business.

At HP Pavilion, there is lots of excitement and competition is everywhere -- even in line.

They have come from all over for the NCAA tournament. Fans proudly represent their teams dressed in gold, red, purple, but the color many in San Jose are interested in is green.

The tournament will generate $20 million. That translates into $500,000 in sales tax revenue. The city will use that money for police, parks and libraries.

"There are huge economic benefits, people are traveling from around the country, certainly all the teams are travelling, the fans following, the vendors," said Patricia Ernstrom from th San Jose Sports Authority.

Even those at HP's concession stands are making money. If the Pavilion is dark, workers are not called in and food venders like Auressia Armstrong would not get a paycheck.

"Having the games here really helps everybody in this time frame because it's kind of hard to find jobs," said Armstrong.

Those with a job in San Jose's hospitality industry are expecting a major pay off from the tournament.

"We're probably going to drop besides the tickets, $500," said college student Mat Vallejos.

The patio at The Brit was packed. They even ran out of beer yesterday.

"On a normal Thursday, we do pretty good, but today is 10 times as good!" said The Brit owner Margaret Handyside.

Occupancy at downtown hotels is also up by 50 percent in some cases.

"Filling those weekend needs, like March Madness type of situation is great. It's the time when we need business, we can't always fill hotel rooms and of course this weekend we're packed," said Nate Moore from the Marriott Hotels and Resorts.

San Jose is already set to host part of the NCAA tournament in 2013.


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