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Bars See Record Crowds During Big 12 Tourney

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- With only 10 teams and less games this year, businesses like Johnnie's Tavern here in Downtown Kansas City were worried that this year's Big 12 Tournament might be a bust.

Instead, the bar and many around it saw record crowds, record numbers and are still reveling in what they call the biggest week they've ever seen.  With a sea of color as far as the eye could see, Big 12 fans showed up to the Power & Light District in record numbers this year.   A sell out inside the Sprint Center, the total attendance, 95,000 people. But it was the thousands more hanging outside who were ready to let loose.

"It was crazy," P&L's Pizza Bar Kansas City General Manager Dan Creach said. "There were just people everywhere.  I mean you couldn't even. You couldn't walk through the district, you couldn't walk through any of the restaurants, the bars down here.  I mean there were just people everywhere."

Inside Pizza Bar, sales were  up more than 20 percent from last year. Creach says the bar hit record sales on Thursday and Friday night.

"Ive never even seen anything like it in my life.  I've been in this business a long time and Ive never seen anything like it," says Creach.

Next door at Johnnie's Tavern, Thursday alone saw $70,000 in sales according to Manager Jessica Brady,  that's usually what they do in one week.

"Thursday was a madhouse we opened at 7:30 in the morning and we were full from the moment we opened to the moment we closed at 2 a,m," Brady said.

Add to those numbers 16 thousand hotel room nights booked, all helping to add around $14 million to the local economy according to the Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association.

"I think we get better at it every year," says Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association President Rick Hughes.

It's huge for Kansas City, Missouri.  Huge for downtown. Taxes from that $14 million
will be spread throughout Kansas City, so while Mizzou may have won the Tournament, Kansas City is the big winner from last week.

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