CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The NCAA men’s basketball tournament has come and gone for the two rounds hosted here in Charlotte.
While some teams, like North Carolina and Virginia, suffered heartbreaking losses at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, local businesses won big over the weekend.
For local bars, like Fitzgerald’s in uptown, the weekend was a slam dunk as the NCAA tournament brought in basketball fans from all over the country.
"Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then now Sunday," said Kyle Bartosiewicz, general manager of Fitzgerald’s. "Huge influx of people from out of town going to the games and it’s been awesome,"
"Anything to draw business to Charlotte benefits everybody," Bartosiewicz added.
The Queen City has come a long way following the controversy over HB2. During the height of the controversy surrounding the bill, the state of North Carolina lost out on seven NCAA tournament events in the 2016-2017 academic year. The NCAA threatened to keep tournaments out of North Carolina until 2022.
The North Carolina General Assembly later repealed HB2 and replaced it with a compromise bill in 2017.
"It’s such a basketball state, a college basketball state," said UMBC fan Dan Levin. "I think it’s really important for college basketball to be back here in North Carolina."
Levin said basketball is better in North Carolina.
"Whether it’d be Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh or anywhere… As long as they’re playing basketball somewhere in North Carolina," he said.
Greensboro is set to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament in 2020 and Raleigh will host the first two rounds of the 2021 tournament.