NORFOLK, VA -- College basketball takes over Norfolk this week, and officials with the city, as well as area businesses say they're ready.
MEAC officials have crossed their t's and dotted their i's and paid attention to all the tiny details as their men's and women's basketball tournaments are about to tip off at Norfolk Scope. Starting Monday, capacity crowds of over ten thousand will fill these seats.
It means "a whole lot of work. But it's really an exciting tournament. It really brings the building alive. We get a lot of fans in here that we don't normally get into the building so that's a good thing for us," said Scope Operations Manager John Herochik.
The basketball action is fast and furious as teams from as far away as Florida and Maryland come to town. Area hotels like the Norfolk Plaza next door to Scope are prepared to do a brisk business.
"We have actually been sold out for a few weeks now, and we are still getting requests for reservations but unfortunately we are sold out. It was the same experience last year. All of downtown Norfolk is busy," said Norfolk Plaza Hotel manager Xander Kramer
The men's and women's teams will play with the finals for the ladies being Saturday afternoon and the finals for the men being Saturday night and televised on ESPN. Bars and restaurants in the area are hoping for a repeat of the business the tournament brought them last year at this time.
"We have different nights that we are definitely going to staff up because we can see when Norfolk State is going to be playing Hampton University or one of the local teams. We are hoping we get hit with some dinner rush before those games," said Baxter Simmons of Baxter’s Restaurant.
MEAC offices are located in Norfolk. This marks the second year of a three year contract they signed with the city of Norfolk. Negotiations have already begun on extending the deal past 2015.