Arena Changing the Face of the State Tourney

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Lincoln, Neb.-- The Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau expects Lincoln to rake in about $5 to $6 million during the boys and girls state basketball tournament, which they said is about normal.

But, what isn't normal, is how these contests are changing the face of Lincoln.

"We're actually at a point we've never been," Jeff Maul, executive director of the bureau, said.

"We are so busy right now, everybody is finding something to do in Lincoln, Nebraska."

Though the Devaney Center hosted a fair share of breathtaking tournament moments, the shops and eateries around the arena act as a game-changer, giving fans a go-to spot after a battle on the court.

"The nice thing is," Maul said, "[fans] walk out of [the arena], and they can't wait to go out in the community and spend money."

Spending money at places like Mellow Mushroom, Gate 25 and Buffalo Wings and Rings - all shops a few hundred feet from the arena's doors.

"There's a lot of places to eat down here in the Yard," Kevin Wolf, of Buffalo Wings and Rings, said.

"If you haven't been down here yet, there's so many places for you to come and visit. Great variety of food and things to do. So, you can really, instead of just a game, turn it into an event."

The visitors bureau doesn't expect revenues to increase substantially. However, Maul believes overall ticket sales at the arena will go up because of the tournament.

Maul also hopes visitors from many of the smaller communities enjoy the grandeur and feel at home.

"[Lincoln is] an extension of small town Nebraska," Maul said.

"You really can't get that in other major metropolitan areas in the state."