Basketball means business during March Madness - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Basketball means business during March Madness

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- As the NCAA Tournament tips off today, basketball will once again mean business in Louisville. Fans will fill the sports bars and clothing stores to support their favorite team.

They say basketball is religion here in Louisville. And for the next couple of weeks, the pews and offering plates will be full wherever there is a big screen.

At Drake's Sports Bar in St. Matthews, it's Christmas in March.

"I would definitely say it's Christmas but for the entire month of March, so it's pretty exciting," said Megan Fulker of Drake's.

The tables are full as a bigger-than-usual lunch crowd settled in for an afternoon of hoops.  "It definitely boosts our business. People love the environment already as it is when there's not March Madness going on. So that just adds to the excitement of it," said Fulker.

Part of the crowd, Jim Hunter, who teaches Religion at U of L.

"The fact that your life is either good or not so good based on how your basketball team performs is very similar in terms of the way people approach their faith," said Hunter.

Hunter agrees, sports bars are the churches of March Madness.  "This is like the Mecca. Places like this are the little synagogues and little churches. They're the temples," he said.

If sports bars are the worship centers of March Madness, then apparel stores like this one are the shrines, where fans come to properly dedicate themselves to their favorite team.

Todd Matti is making his pilgrimage to Lexington to watch the Cards at Rupp. But first he stopped here at the Neutral Zone to make sure he's properly dressed.

"We want to make the blue seats look red at the Blue Nation down there. So we want to make it Red Nation," said Matti.

Jeremy Paulin of the Neutral Zone said Cardinal gear has been flying off the shelves.

"This is the whole year. We finished out a great football season and went to the Sugar Bowl. And now just to top it off, the number one overall seed."

Meanwhile back at Drakes, Michael White has come seeking comfort. 

"I'm sad. This is the worst March Madness I'm ever going to endure."

White is a Kentucky fan.

"It's just fun to watch the games and get together with everybody even though UK's not in it."

But when asked if he is going to root for U of L, he hesitated briefly and then answered with an emphatic "No!"

While business will be great at sports bar and apparel stores, it could be even better. The Neutral Zone Cards store was busy, but all was quiet at the Cats store next door.

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