DES MOINES, Iowa — The NCAA Tournament is coming to Des Moines this week. Wells Fargo Arena will host First and Second Round games Thursday and Saturday. That means plenty of fans will also be coming to the Metro.
In total, eight teams are coming to Des Moines: Kansas, Howard, Arkansas, Illinois Texas, Colgate, Texas A&M, and Penn State. Fans from all eight schools will travel to Des Moines.
There are three sessions of games over the two gamedays with two games in each session. The first two sessions are Thursday and the last is Saturday.
Iowa Events Center General Manager Chris Connolly said Wells Fargo Arena, which is part of the Events Center, will likely have more than 17,000 fans at each session.
While those fans will spend part of their time at the arena, they may also spend plenty of time exploring the Metro with their wallets. Whether it’s staying in a hotel, going to bars and restaurants, filling up the car with gas or something else, the entire region will feel their economic impact.
“Financially we estimate it being an impact of about $8 million and that’s for the whole Greater Des Moines region, not just the downtown,” Connolly said. “When you take a look at the eight teams that come in and play, there’s two pods of four. Four schools stay in the downtown hotels. We have four staying out in West Des Moines. So the bars and restaurants throughout the region, the malls, the hotels, it’s a economic impact. It really is.”
One restaurant expected to benefit from the tournament’s stop in Des Moines is Buzzard Billy’s. It’s located on Third Street near the arena.
“We’re always really excited when people want to come to Des Moines. I don’t know about you but I just believe that Des Moines is one of the most underrated cities so we’re just really excited to get to show people exactly why Des Moines is so awesome and that Iowa nice we’ve got going on here,” Buzzard Billy’s Assistant Manager Ivy Miller said.
She said tournament weekend is likely to be a party atmosphere.
Des Moines last hosted NCAA Tournament games in 2019.