KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Downtown businesses and others across the city are preparing for what many describe as their biggest week of the year: The Big 12 Tournament.
"It's our single biggest week of the year ¬- Bar none," said Jim Watry, a district manager with ECI, the company which operates the Power & Light District. The district’s bars and restaurants stand to rake in the lion's share of tourist dollars as basketball fans flock to the area this week.
In preparation for the four-day, 10-team tournament, many restaurants, bars and hotels add staff and lengthen hours to handle the thousands of fans who fly and drive from places as far flung as Texas and West Virginia to watch their teams compete.
Unlike the NCAA tournament, which will hold regional games here at the end of the month with teams yet to be determined, the Big 12 Tournament gives fans surety their team will play at one site, if only for a game or two.
That helps the tournament stake out a position as the biggest piece of a four-event month in Kansas City, which the Kansas City Convention and Visitors bureau says will bring $23 million to the city in direct spending.
The tournament begins March 13 and concludes March 16.
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