Leaders Excited To Show Changes To Tulsa As NCAA Tournament Returns

Wednesday, March 15th 2017, 10:45 pm
By: News On 6

For the first time in six years, the NCAA Tournament is returning to Tulsa, and crews are busy prepping the BOK Center.

It’s going to be a big weekend for Tulsa; not only for basketball fans but also for the downtown area.

The NCAA Tournament is a world-renowned event that will help showcase the positive change that has come to the city.

The excitement is overflowing as the NCAA marches into Tulsa, along with the 50,000-plus people expected to make the trip.

"It's going to be fun, I think, for some of those Kansas fans who were here in 2011 to see this huge change in Tulsa," said City Councilor Anna America.

At Albert G's Bar-B-Q, workers like Erin Rubey are gearing up for the basketball weekend and the St. Patrick’s Day fun.

“We're excited. We're ready for everybody. We, of course, have the corned beef cabbage special that we do one Fridays for St. Patrick's Day," Rubey said.

Getting the NCAA to return has been a city-wide effort.

“You know, 'build it and they will come' and they did,” America said. “And now it's up to us to show that we’re the kind of city that can host these events and do a good job."

City leaders hope that starts by showing off all the new improvements downtown.

America said, "We kind of take it for granted, but the change in this area - downtown - is dramatic."

There are new shops, restaurants, parks and unique Tulsa experiences.

Rubey said, "You can get things you can only get in Tulsa, so we're hoping they stay downtown."

And just like Albert G's, all shops are hoping to shine when the spotlights on, especially with $8 million in revenue up for grabs.

"A lot of that will be reflected in sales tax revenue, things that were all going to benefit from,” America said.

Downtown hotels are nearly sold out and the City is offering free shuttles to help people get around.

There are still some tickets left.

While leaders are excited for the visitors, they hope Tulsans don't miss out on the special weekend.