INDIANAPOLIS—It's being called one of the greatest NCAA championship games of all time. By all accounts, this week's Final Four in Indianapolis was a success.
"Having our hometown Butler bulldogs in it, make their way back to Indy only added to the excitement," said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard (R).
Final Four attendance hit near record levels: more than 142,000 people, which is about 3,000 below Detroit's record last year. The championship game alone drew nearly 71,000, again more than Detroit by about 2,000.
"I would definitely recommend it to anyone," said tourist Craig Miller.
It it's too early to tell the impact fans like Miller had on downtown businesses. He and his buddies from Wisconsin came to town and did just what city leaders hoped: spent money.
"$500, but it was worth it. We came for the games and had a blast," said one tourist.
"We tried to get into St. Elmo's next door. I think the earliest seating time was 8:15. We ended up eating at the bar with 2 million other people," said tourist Joe Wilkinson.
Early predictions of the Final Four's downtown impact floated between $30-$50 million. However, having the local team in the finals may have lowered those numbers. By how much though, remains to be seen as individual stores, restaurants and hotels add up their numbers from the week.
One thing is sure: Butler, and Indianapolis have a lot of new fans out there.
"The whole atmosphere of Indianapolis is one of very friendly people, and easy to get around, and it's quite different from Chicago which is where we live," said Wilkinson.