March Madness comes to San Francisco's Chase Center and business owners are ready to 'win'
SAN FRANCISCO - Excitement is building as NCAA action is set to get underway in San Francisco. Chase Center will host the West Regional Sweet 16 and Elite Eight, and fans are already pouring into the city.
The teams are set to meet up Thursday. But, no matter who comes out on top, businesses around town say with all the visitors, they're the ones coming away with a win.
Preparations are underway for the first ever NCAA basketball tournament games to be played at Chase Center. More than 18,000 tickets already sold for Thursday's Sweet 16 games when Arkansas takes on Gonzaga and Duke plays Texas Tech.
Saturdays Elite Eight matchup sold out as well. While that's great for Chase Center's bottom line, it's also boosting business around town.
"You think about where we are coming out of COVID and the economic recovery for San Francisco and what an event like this can do not just for Chase Center but for the entire city," said Brandon Schneider. President & Chief Operating Officer for the Golden State Warriors.
At the Blue Mermaid in the Fisherman's Wharf a whole table was Texas Tech red, ready for the game. Chris Level, the voice of the Red Raiders already predicting even more travel for this Texas Tech team. "Red Raiders, said Level. "We'll be in New Orleans next week, look it up!"
For now he and fellow Red Raiders are taking in the town. "We're from Lubbock," said Level. "Came in yesterday and obviously looking to see the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf, where we are. Just enjoy the nice weather and beautiful city you've got here."
Hotels like the Argonaut in the Fisherman's Wharf say they're already starting to see a little March Madness in their bottom line.
"Very exciting; and we're not just seeing the bump from them, but spring break in general," said Stefan Mühle from Noble House Hotels & Resorts. "It's almost like someone switched on a switch on March 11th."
The hotels seeing as much as 80% occupancy on the weekends. What that means is bringing on more staff. "This was the week actually, when we hired more housekeeping personnel, more staff in food and beverage, bartenders and servers, and culinary staff alike," said Mühle. "Now we're looking to beef up our sales department as well."
Next to Chase Center, Jon Verna from Harmonic Brewing says they rely on the Warriors to bring out the crowds, but know they can't rely on just 40 plus home games to keep them in business.
MORE: March Madness 2022: What you need to know about the NCAA Tournament, teams, schedule
This Wednesday he's doing double duty, hanging out with his son Eli and gearing up for the crowds the NCAA tournament will bring.
"We were also psyched that some of the top teams, such as Gonzaga and Duke made it, cause they have great fan bases, huge fan bases and we're going to be hosting them here," said Verna.
The games are sold out, but even if you don't have a ticket Chase Center is inviting people to share in a little March Madness, they will be holding a Fan Fest here in Thrive City in front of Chase Center. The games will be shown right on the big board.