NCAA tournament brings big business to Central Florida

Sports tourism officials predict rounds played at Amway Center will bring in about $10 million

ORLANDO, Fla. - Sports tourism officials predict the rounds of the NCAA men's basketball tournament played at the Amway Center will bring in about $10 million to Central Florida's economy.

That estimate comes from the Central Florida Sports Commission, which also predicts visitors will spend 14,000 room nights in Orlando and the surrounding area.

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Thursday's first games already brought out large crowds, many of them Gators fans eager to watch the No. 1 seed Florida play Albany.

Church Street businesses were packed Thursday afternoon, including sports bar Harry Buffalo.

Manager Lisa Lamb told Local 6 she even had to open up an hour early to start taking reservations. The bar will remain open until 2 a.m. and expects to stay busy throughout the weekend.

"We have been very busy since the minute we opened this morning," Lamb said.

Orlando has not hosted the NCAA tournament since 2004 and this is the first time it'll be played in the new Amway Center.

Games are scheduled for Saturday as well.

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