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Final Four = Money “Madness” For Local Businesses

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ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – The Final Four officially arrives in North Texas on April 2. The last teams standing are scheduled to arrive in Arlington and a whole lot of cash will follow them.

The upcoming basketball games are expected to break NCAA tournament attendance records, with more than 85,000 fans headed this way.

The state estimates people will spend $239 million in Dallas and Arlington alone.

With 311 rooms, the Sheraton Hotel, just south of Interstate-30, is arguably the largest hotel in Arlington. As of Tuesday night, the hotel claims to have every single room booked.

Across the city, hotels and restaurants are gearing up for a busy weekend, as the Final Four descends on AT&T Stadium.

At the blue cypress hotel, owner Alex Shallwani is preparing for a full house. “It’s exciting for the staff and everyone here. We’re ready for it and Arlington is ready for it.”

The Final Four games are drawing in thousands of fans… and their business. The City of Arlington, alone, is projecting to take in an additional $786,000 in tax revenue.

The first sign of that boom is at the hotel reservation desk. Many hotels, like the Courtyard Marriott and Holiday Inn Express, have already sold out. Others are charging top dollar for what rooms they have left.

Rates at the Crowne Plaza Suites usually start at $152 a night. For this weekend, the cheapest room is now $409.

A room at the Hyatt Place Hotel has spiked, from $159 to nearly $500.
The travel site trivago.com reports, on average, hotels in Arlington have hiked rates by some 107-percent. In Dallas rates are up by 29-perent and Fort Worth is seeing a 19-percent change.

At local restaurants, like Babe’s Chicken, customers can count on prices to stay the same. Manager Howard Ball said, “I expect us to be busy. I hope we’ll be busy.”

Ball said he’s looking forward to introducing new customers to a unique experience. Other Arlington business owners, like Shallwani, are hoping the positive experiences lead to even bigger opportunities in the future. “We can go for the Summer Olympics!”

The money won’t just flow in this weekend. It was the Texas Comptroller’s Office that came up with the multi-million dollar estimates, and it looked at a period starting two months ago and going through this September.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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