Tourist helpers aid NCAA basketball fans

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Buffalo learned something from the Big Apple, which recently hosted the Super Bowl, and is giving incoming fans a little guidance and answering their questions.

Thousands of NCAA basketball fans are converging on the Queen City could mean a $5 million tourist boost. Fans are looking for a good time between games, and tourist helpers are ready to give directions to hotels, bars and restaurants.

Visit Buffalo Niagara CEO Patrick Kaler said, “We’ve got about a hundred volunteers out here, as you can see, with their “Ask Me” signs, directing all the people out to the things that they can see and do in between the games.”

Suggestions include restaurants like Buffalo’s new Dinosaur Barbecue, where the games can be watched on giant screens. Dinosaur was ready to welcome the crowds bright and early.

General Manager Robert Rush said, “This morning we opened up at 9:30. We opened up the bar early for people to pre-game, and we’re also going to open up the bar on Saturday at 9:30.”

They even fired up an extra smoker, anticipating about a 30 percent boost in volume.

Dan Muster from Rochester said, “As soon as we hear that the Dinosaur was going to open early, we knew we were going to come here to eat and drink and have a good time.”

A man calling himself “Mr. Basketball” only had good things to say about Buffalo.

“The city’s awesome. Very similar to Cleveland. Actually it’s the people. People make the city,” he said.

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