Big 12 and NCAA games at Sprint Center are slam dunk for Kansas City businesses

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The numbers are in and it looks like March Madness has been a slam dunk, not only for local college basketball, but also for Kansas City business.

Even with the loss of Mizzou this year, record numbers of fans came to Kansas City during the Big 12 tournament.

Now downtown is undergoing a massive overhaul to change the city from a Big 12 town to an NCAA town.

Dozens of street signs had to be changed early Monday morning, the Power and Light district bars and businesses began to restock, and inside the Sprint Center, crews pulled up the Big 12 hardwoods and replaced it with a NCAA basketball court.

Everything inside the Sprint Center will be changed to represent the tournament.

The venue is sold out for both Friday and Sundays games.

Minutes after the selection committee started announcing the basketball bracket last night, some downtown hotels, like the President Hotel, quickly sold out.

Fan demand shot the price of tickets up 5 and 6 times more than face value. Some brokers are selling a pair of center court tickets for as much as $2,000.

The KC Convention & Visitors Association said March Madness is big business.  It is estimating a $9.6 million NCAA weekend.  It usually takes a month to bring that kind of cash to Kansas City.

"It speaks volumes to what a tremendous epicenter of basketball this is," said Rick Hughes, with the KC Convention & Visitors Association.

The Power and Light district said its venues had a record year, bringing in 9 percent more than it did last year during the Big 12 tournament.

It said the matchups and fantastic weather made a lucrative weekend for its businesses.

The district said it is preparing for another record weekend for the NCAA.

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