Buffalo prepares for NCAA Tournament


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The NCAA is making its way to Buffalo.  “We’re excited” said Lofts on Pearl front  desk agent Keani Gardenier.  “If we could have a NCAA once a month, what a party it would be,” said Marisa Broietta-Milbrand the co-owner of Cobblestone Bar.

But it’s way more than just basketball, for businesses this week means major dollar signs. “We probably will do at least ten times what we do on an average week due to the NCAA’s,” said Broietta-Milbrand.

This will be the first time the Lofts on Pearl are open as a hotel for the tournament. All 32 suites are booked. “We’re sold out, we’ve been sold out for weeks. It’s crazy. We’re excited. Pretty much everybody is preparing and gearing up,” said Gardenier.

Cobblestone has been around for fifteen years, so its owners know what to expect when it comes to March Madness. The last tournament in Buffalo was in 2010. “It was fantastic. We were busy constantly and consistently. The staff made a lot of money and the business made a lot of money and it was good all around for Buffalo I think,” said Broietta-Milbrand.

Many are anxiously waiting to see if Syracuse will be playing at the First Niagara Center. “Looking forward to seeing if Syracuse actually gets to come to town. I would like to see them play here. Hopefully get to the game if they get the chance,” said fan Mark Dellaquila. “We will be the official home base for the alumni as well as people coming in from Syracuse,” said Broietta-Milbrand.

And while these guys are donning Sabres jerseys Sunday, their excitement will shift from the ice rink to the basketball court come Thursday. “It’s nice because you actually can see teams you wouldn’t normally see play in a game. And there’s a lot of names you don’t normally see here,” said Dellaquila. “It’s cool it’s a neutral site, so you’ll see fans of almost every team that comes to play” said fan Mike Kozlowski.

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