Final Four organizers prepare for 70,000 visitors

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Just days away from Final Four basketball, organizers are getting ready for one of the biggest weekend in sports and, for Indianapolis, one of the biggest weekends in tourism.

Thousands of fans are checking into their hotels and soaking in the city. Among them are Nick and Allen Sapoznik from Illinois.

“It’s pretty cool to see it all come into action,” Nick said. “The stadium, the security, everything that goes into this big thing for just a couple games.”

“They have all the shirts, merchandise, everybody’s walking around with passes,” Allen said. “You can feel the excitement.”

When those visitors head out Friday there will be even more to see, including the Final Four Fan Fest. The fest underwent final preparations Thursday.

It’s an event where fans can get autographs from former players and coaches and even shoot some hoops.

“This room will be packed and swarming with visitors from around the country,” Chris Gahl of Visit Indy said of the Fan Fest room in the Indiana Convention Center.

Gahl says Fan Fest is an example of why you don’t need a game ticket to enjoy this weekend. Outside Lucas Oil, fans will find concerts and parties throughout downtown. More than 70,000 people are expected to visit Indy this weekend.

Gahl says he wants those people to leave here knowing “Indy welcomes all.”

“You will see us very vocal this weekend that Indy welcomes all,” he said.