After 2 years of COVID, Philadelphia hosts ‘come out party’ as NCAA Tournament arrives at Wells Fargo Center – Reuters

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As Villanova continues its run in the big dance, even more March Madness is coming to Philly. The Wells Fargo Center is home to the Eastern region of the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight and the games are sure to bring an economic slam dunk to the region.

Philadelphia rolls out the red carpet for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight teams.

READ MORE: Police dispatch audio reveals emergency crews response to I-95 crash that killed 2 Pennsylvania State Police troopers, pedestrians

With that comes a brand new floor which was just installed on Wednesday afternoon.

After two years of living in a pandemic, city leaders say they are ready to throw a party.

“I think about this kind of coming out party. If you’re in Center City this weekend, you’re going to see the fans. You’re going to see the excitement,” said Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association executive director Ed Grose.

An estimated 15,000 fans will come to Philadelphia for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games.

“It’s a good thing overall not just for the city of Philadelphia but for the region,” Grose said.

READ MORE: A Pennsylvania lawmaker wants to use the power of state law to crack down on illegal ATV riders in Philadelphia

It is estimated that 8,100 hotel rooms will be rented between Friday and Sunday. Visitors are expected to spend over $12 million over the weekend.

These expenses include going out to restaurants, bars and other activities.

Wells Fargo Center says between the three games they expect to sell 25,000 beers, 10,500 souvenir sodas and, because this is Philly after all, some 900 Delco Steaks.

“Besides the rooms and the economic impact, I think the most important thing for us is morale. We’re just coming out of a pandemic,” Grose said.

The easiest way to access the games is SEPTA. The Broad Street Line brings you to the sports complex. SEPTA is adding an additional system-wide service so people can get to games and get home.

“So if we’re going to do double overtime or something really exciting, don’t worry, your train will be there,” SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch said.

NO MORE NEWS: Phillies Charities 5K returns in-person to South Philadelphia this weekend for the first time in two years

Philadelphia has hosted the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament nearly 28 times.

Joseph K. Bennett