Basketball junkies will be glued to their First Niagara Center seats for four games Thursday and two more on Saturday.
But what will they do Friday?
Clearly, many fans will come from Western New York or within a few hours’ drive of Buffalo. And, if Syracuse plays here, many of its Central New York fans may commute. But no matter what, at least a few thousand visitors will be in Buffalo looking for something to do on Friday, their off day.
Local tourism officials believe there will be some overlap between visitors’ passions for both basketball and the cultural attractions, such as the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo History Museum, Burchfield Penney Art Center, Allentown, the Elmwood Village, Delaware Park, the Buffalo Zoo, the Darwin Martin House, the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens, Our Lady of Victoria Basilica, the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site and, of course, Niagara Falls.
So information will be given out on the streets, before, after and between the Thursday games and at both manned and unmanned information desks at area hotels.
But those officials also are realists, recognizing that hoops fans may be glued to their TV sets, either in their hotel rooms or local bars and restaurants.
As Pete Harvey, director of sports development for the Buffalo Sports Commission, put it, “March Madness fans are very focused on the possible next step for their team. Syracuse fans, if they win Thursday, might want to see how Arizona is doing, or how the Gators are doing.”
In other words, all basketball, all the time.
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