Local Businesses Cash In on March Madness - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Local Businesses Cash In on March Madness

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March Madness is upon us, and that means many local companies are counting on the NCAA Tournament to bring in some extra business.

We all know football is king when it comes to sports, but for some businesses, the college basketball tournament rivals some of the biggest NFL games.

That is good for places like Bully's Sports Bar and Grill. The local restaurant is preparing for a busy three weeks.

"Wall-to-wall basketball," Grant Geissler, Robb Drive Bully's General Manager said. "It's a great weekend."

The NCAA's field of 64 starts Thursday and the general manager at the Robb Drive Bully's says he expects three or four times more customers than a typical Thursday.

"I'll have some people who camp out at about 9:00 and be here until the final game ends," Geissler said.

Customers say they plan on heading to a local sports bar at least once during the first week of the tournament, saying the number of games and the people make it more exciting.

"It adds to the intrigue of it, camaraderie," Glen Shoberg said. "It's a lot of fun. You try to pick the team that's going to make it to the finals and there's so many bumps, along the way there. Just watching that to see how far your team goes is pretty exciting."

Bully's is offering happy hour specials like $3 domestic draft beers, and food deals like the Big Basket of Bird for $10.99. The deal includes six chicken wings, one half-pound of boneless wings, and fries.

The fans bring something else to the table.

"Atmosphere is a lot of fun," Geissler said. "Everybody is rooting for an upset. Everybody is comparing brackets and teasing each other about how bad they're doing."

Hotel rooms at the Peppermill are completely booked with people making a Reno vacation of the tournament.

"They book this, months in advance," Terry Cox, Director of the Peppermill Race and Sportsbook said. "I had people calling me back in December, saying 'Are you guys going to have that March Madness party again this year?'"

Cox says they're expecting more than 400 people at that party.

When you add up three weeks of basketball games, the Big Dance is the biggest event of the year.

"Super Bowl single-day wagering is the biggest single event, but if you take the first four days of the tournament, it will rival the Super Bowl," Cox said. "And if you take the entire tournament, it's more than the Super Bowl."

Unless you're actually at one of the games, Cox says there's no better place to experience March Madness.

"This is one of the things that still separates Nevada from all those casinos over in California," Cox said. "Because if you want to bet sports, you still have to come here to do it."

Since some of the games are airing on Channel 2, we will not have our regular scheduled evening newscasts at 5 and 6:30, Thursday through Saturday.

There will be a newscast, immediately following the games.

Written by Paul Nelson
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