Basketball fans bring downtown Indianapolis back to life during pandemic

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Despite the coronavirus pandemic, downtown Indianapolis was bustling on Friday for Day 2 of the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament.

The conference allowed up to 8,000 people to attend games on alternating courts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Just a year ago, the NCAA and Big Ten announced canceled their entire 2020 tournaments.

This year, it’s back and all in one location, and fans on Friday told News 8 they’re taking full advantage by going to as many games as possible.

“Last year, we bought tickets; of course, it got canceled. We had a Friday session. So, we used all that money to spend time here for this year,” said one Purdue fan.

Downtown Indy Inc. said people who make a day trip to catch a game will spend $70 on average in downtown bars, restaurants or shops. The city, though, expects much larger amounts from groups that stay overnight.

Not everything is back to normal yet, though. People are in masks; there is limited capacity; players are wearing contact-tracing devices. Some visitors even took precautions on their own by getting vaccinated before traveling.