Downtown Minneapolis businesses keen to boost their economy through the Final Four

Downtown Minneapolis restaurants and bars are eagerly awaiting thousands of people coming to dine downtown during the NCAA Women’s Final Four this weekend.

The tournament, held at the Target Center, is expected to generate a revenue bonanza for Minneapolis, city officials say.

Shane Higgins, general manager of Brit’s Pub, said he was bracing for a surge of customers.

“We are looking at arrivals on Thursday and hoping for a very good business weekend,” he said. “We are going to be as ready as possible for the influx of people. We can not wait to be there.

Over the weekend, the general manager hopes to keep the tables and chairs filled with fans.

“We have plenty of room and hopefully we have enough staff to manage the rooms,” Higgins said. “We’re just waiting for a good time.”

Steve Cramer, chairman of the downtown Minneapolis council, predicts the three-day weekend will bring about $25 million in revenue to Minneapolis. He says the money won’t just be spent on local restaurants and bars.

“We’re going to have around 30,000 fans and visitors to the games and all the other activities that are happening downtown, so it’s going to be a huge infusion of business,” Cramer said.

The women’s basketball tournament will be one of the biggest events in Minneapolis since the pandemic began.

After dark times, the Downtown Council calls it an opportunity to show the city in a new light.

“It will just give us an extra boost as well as all that national attention, so there’s a lot of excitement on behalf of the downtown business community about this event,” Cramer said. “I think everyone is going to come downtown and have a great time.”

This weekend, there will be a handful of free events in downtown Minneapolis for all ages.

David H. Henry