KANSAS CITY, Mo. — March in Kansas City means more green for local businesses, but it has very little to do with St. Patrick's Day.
A packed events calendar — including the Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship this week followed by several high-profile concerts, the Professional Bull Riders tour stop, and the return of college basketball for the NCAA Midwest Regional in two weeks at the Sprint Center — means big crowds spending big bucks.
A big crowd gathered Saturday at the Power and Light District for the title game between Kansas and Iowa State, whose fan base travels remarkably well for the conference postseason tourney.
“A lot of people come down, spend their money," one of those traveling Cyclones fans, Matt Bowersos, said, "It's a great time."
This year, great weather for tourney weekend means more money being spent in local businesses.
“Somehow, the winter weather has decided to disperse for the weekend and warm up to 55 degrees,” Jayhawks fan Chad Kagy.
One of those businesses benefitting from the crowds was Homeslice Pizza and Pints
“It's been a lot of fun," Homeslice General Manager Josie Hunter said. "We have live music every night, our staff has done an amazing job, we are trying to have as much fun with it as possible."
Homeslice opened in time for the Big 12 tourney last year, but the weather wasn’t great and sales were sluggish. This year was a different story.
“Fortunate enough, shuttles drop off right in front of our door, we are walking distance away from Sprint Center, (and) we get big crowds before and after games as well,” Hunter said.
The Kagy family doesn’t live far from downtown, but they also helped bolstered the local economy this weekend.
“Bring the kids, dogs, stay at the Intercontinental, make it a fun staycation," Kelly Kagy said. "It is just awesome."
The end of the Big 12 tourney doesn't signal the end of a hopefully busy month for Homeslice and surrounding businesses. St. Patrick's Day; upcoming concerts, including Michael Buble, Justin Timberlake, and Weezer; then March Madness the following week are on tap before the month ends.
City officials estimate that the Big 12 Championship brings about $15 million into the local economy.