Businesses could win big with more out of town teams playing at - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Businesses could win big with more out of town teams playing at KFC Yum! Center

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- IU and UK fans may not be happy that their teams aren't playing closer to home, but it is welcome news for businesses in Louisville, especially hotels.

The Lady Cards are lucky to be playing at home inside the KFC Yum! Center, but the city of Louisville is ready to cash in on fans from out of town.

Tournament time in downtown Louisville will have a different feel this year, with no sea of blue or crimson flooding in as IU and UK play Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa.

But some women's games are playing at the Yum through Sunday.

"We do have a few guests that are staying with the women's tournament, those are mostly teams," said Amanda Lambert, communications manager with the  Galt House Hotel.

She says business will really ramp up when the men's south regional moves into the Derby City on Thursday.

"We expect we'll book up as the tournament plays out," said Lambert.

When local teams play in Louisville, Cards, Cats and Hoosiers fans love the close drive. But on the flip side, more out of town teams means more business for the hospitality industry.

"Last year is a prime example with Cincinnati and Purdue," Lambert explained. "With local teams, we lost a lot of rooms. We're hoping as the tournament plays out, we'll get a lot of teams that travel well and are in a day's travel distance of Louisville and will stay here." 

The Galt House says one particular match-up would be a slam dunk.

"We're not going to say we endorse a team, but we are really hoping that Kansas and Wichita State make it to the Sweet 16, because those are two teams that are in a day's distance, they are big rivals," she said. 

The basketball fans in town will need more than a hotel to stay in. They will want food and entertainment when their team is not playing. Some popular attractions in downtown Louisville include the Muhammad Ali Center, the art gallery at 21C Museum hotel and the Louisville Slugger Museum and the slugger bat factory tour.

Restaurants, hotels and attractions will win big, while IU and UK fans take their cash and business to other cities. The winner of the IU and UK match-up in Iowa Saturday heads to Philly next, with the Final Four and championship in Houston.

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