OVC basketball tournament brings economic benefit to Evansville businesses

OVC basketball tournament brings economic benefit to Evansville businesses

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - As the Ford Center welcomes fans to the Ohio Valley Conference basketball tournament, restaurants like Backstage Bar and Grill are doing the same.

“To prepare for it we’re staffing more people, ordering more food, more beer, more liquor,” owner Kevin Zirkelbach said.

The tournament is known to bring people into town, and nearby businesses hope to benefit from it.

“Yeah it’s always one of our best weeks of the year,” Zirkelbach said. “We’re very excited for it.”

Deputy Mayor Steve Schaeffer says that supporting local businesses is how the city can slowly open the economy back up.

“After we’ve had a year through the pandemic where businesses have suffered, this type of event is what the community needs in terms of bringing folks here to town, going to restaurants, shopping in our stores,” Schaeffer said.

He says the city has partnered with the Vanderburgh County Health Department and Deaconess Health System to keep the crowds safe.

This means temperature checks, masks and socially-distanced seating.

“We’re very glad to have the input of our medical professionals,” Schaeffer said.

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