Oh, the Madness!!!
U mad bro? You better be! The month of March has arrived and with it the promise of three annually epic events: Spring Break, St. Patrick's Day and March Madness. These back-to-back-to-back events form a Holy Trinity of drinking holidays for college students, and this year all three converge in one place: Orlando, Florida. As if world-class theme parks and beautiful weather weren't enough, Orlando recently won the honor of hosting the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the 2014 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament. "Way to hog all the fun," said the other 49 states.
The nation's focus will be on Orlando as teams from across the country (and their respective fans) travel to compete in Central Florida. The college basketball games will be played at the Amway Center on March 20 & 22 before winners advance to the next round. Which teams will make their way into this year's tournament is unclear at the moment; however, the current top-ranked University of Florida is positioned to make an appearance. This is convenient news for fans of the Florida Gators as Orlando is only a two hour drive away from The University of Florida's campus in Gainesville, Florida.
The dominant Florida Gators will likely make the trip to Orlando in the coming weeks.
The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament will combine the best aspects of Orlando's signature theme parks by adding the thrill of a rollercoaster with the excitement of a live show. It will be a dazzling display of athleticism and competitiveness. For college or professional basketball fans, this is going to be a must-see event! Tickets for the spectacle are selling fast with some seats being sold online for upwards of $200 each. If you're in the Orlando area and love big-time sporting events, get your tickets now and witness every unforgettable moment as teams battle down to the buzzer for an opportunity to advance to the Sweet 16, then Elite 8 and the Final Four.
As the current home to the Orlando Magic, The Amway Center is no stranger to basketball or big events. The 20,000-seat venue has accommodated hundreds of concerts, games and exhibitions since it opened in September of 2010. An opportunity to host such a grand event means only good things are in store for the Amway Center and the City of Orlando. This is not only a chance to expose Orlando's brand of excitement and hospitality to the rest of the country, but it is also a chance to prove that Orlando is ready for bigger and broader events. By capitalizing on the attention generated by a successfully hosted basketball tournament, Orlando can position itself as a strong contender to host a college football national championship, a future NFL franchise or even a Super Bowl!
With the recent demolition of the Citrus Bowl, plans are underway for a massive new stadium to be built on its former site. This new structure – 80% of which will be done by the end of 2014 – will be the home of the Orlando City Soccer Club. Alongside the Amway Center, the new Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium will stand proudly on Orlando's skyline as a symbol of future prosperity. That's why Orlando needs its resident's support. Seizing this opportunity for exposure is important to the city's economy, and could ultimately lead to the creation of new businesses and jobs in the City Beautiful.
So get mad Central Floridians, and celebrate March Madness! Because at the end of the day, whichever team you're cheering for, you're cheering for Orlando!
No ticket? No problem!
With dozens of local bars and venues in Orlando, fans that don't score a ticket to the game will have plenty of places to catch all the action of the tournament. From downtown hotspots on Church Street and nearby Wall Street to University Blvd and down to I-Drive, everywhere will be celebrating as the teams hit the Amway court and battle their way to the Championships!
Gator fans can enjoy cold beer and great oysters as they cheer on the Rowdy Reptiles at the Gator-themed Thirsty Gator Oyster Bar off Goldenrod.
Downtown fans tailgating the game outside of the Amway Center can keep the party going at Frank & Steins and grab a hot dog and a beer just in time for tip off.