Basketball brings boost to Hartford businesses

March Madness means a big boost for local business.

On Thursday, there were lines out the door at restaurants in the capital city.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said, “It’s a great small city and we are excited to welcome a whole lot of people to it this week.”

Bob Colangelo with Max Bibo’s told News 8, “This hasn’t happened in 21 years, so, of course we are all excited. We have extra help today. We are extending our hours so we are really happy with the crowd.”

Mike Gugliotti said, “It has definitely brought a lot to town. A lot of people down here and the next couple of days will be unbelievable.”

Joe Calafiore with Hartford Athletic said, “You can just see that there’s a real appetite for sports here in Hartford. It also shows that we have a lot of momentum in Hartford. There’s a lot of energy here and great things happening. Great people doing great things.”

Locals said they would like to see it this busy all the time.

Amir Mian added, “Typically, there’s no one on Pratt Street at this time of the day. It’s just usually work people. And to actually see fans and liveliness and excitement for the game I admire. The people coming to Hartford.”

One of the largest landlords in the city turned a vacant space into a lounge for visitors to eat, watch the game and relax.

Timothy Moore with Shelbourne said, “I think it’s going to show people that Hartford is turning a new leaf and turning a new corner.”

Mayor Bronin said Hartford wouldn’t have the national spotlight without the XL Center. It’s a facility that’s 40 years old. He said the center is in dire need of investment in order to host world class events. 

Mayor Bronin told News 8, “If we are ever going to get a tournament like this again, the XL Center has got to be modernized. This is not a question of whether you fix it a couple of years from now. That investment needs to be made now.”

Don Genovesi said, “There are too many competing venues around the country, and if you don’t improve, then you are just going to lose out.”

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