March Madness: No matter who wins, Kansas City scores

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - March madness has begun in Kansas City and more than 20,000 people are expected to head downtown to watch.

"It's the college basketball Capitol of America," President and CEO of the Kansas City Visitor’s Association John Stevens said.

Kansas City hosts more basketball games in March than any other place in America, drawing in die-hard fans like John Yeutter. He'll never miss the MIAA tournament, his students at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma hold him to it.

"One year I made one deal who one of them: ‘You come to all my classes, I'll come to all your games,’” he said.

March Madness brings in triple the business for Johnny's Tavern in the Power and Light District.

"Preparation really starts you know 45 to 60 days out to make sure that were ready for it," owner Kyle Witherspoon said.

The Kansas City Visitor's Association expects the games to bring in $1.8 million from tourism.
"That's a direct tax benefit to the citizens of Kansas City," Stevens said.

However, the money doesn't just stay downtown.

"We have stores in Johnson County and even having the tournament here in Kansas City has a huge impact in those stores as well," Witherspoon said.

No matter who wins, Kansas City still scores.

The MIAA continues on through March 9 at the downtown municipal auditorium.  The Big 12 tournament begins March 12 at the Sprint Center, followed by the NAIA championship.

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