SOUTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) --Excitement is growing as thousands of fans get ready for March Madness right here in Philadelphia.
College basketball lovers from around the country are in the City of Brotherly Love to see four teams hit the hardwood Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Folks at both Pat's and Geno's were glad for the boost, especially on Good Friday, when the cheesesteak business tends to slump.
"It's great for us. It's great for us that people are eating meat today and shying away from fish!" said Jeffrey Beres of Geno's Steaks.
This is Philadelphia's first men's regional tournament since 2001, and businesses at Reading Terminal Market were even more packed than usual.
"We have seen a lot of basketball fans coming through. It's been a lot of fun, everybody's getting all excited," said Deborah DiPinto of Beck's Cajun Cafe.
"We always have a lot of people coming through the market but there's a lot more coming in today," said Andy Wash of Hershel's East Side Deli.
For basketball fans, it was a chance to spend quality time in an iconic city, before cheering on their beloved teams in the Sweet 16.
"I also like to be around other IU fans. The camaraderie. We travel really well. We're a really great fan base," said Alyson Lee of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
We also caught up with Indiana Hoosiers fans who were getting in their exercise with a run up the Art Museum steps before a cheesesteak lunch.
"We've been told there's a special cheesesteak spot we have to investigate," said Joe Ford of Indianapolis.
And businesses - cheesesteak spots included- are hoping visitors will do just that. The tournament is expected to pump more than $18 million into the city's economy.
At the Liberty Bell, the line wrapped around the corner, filled with excited fans taking in some Philly sights before the Sweet 16 showdown.
"We are here on total accident. We were doing a family trip for spring break, went to New York, stopped through Philly, and didn't even realize the regional tournament was here!" said Lance Cook of Madison, Wisconsin.
Mike and Zene Janowak, also of Wisconsin, have never been to Philadelphia before.
And they've brought a fierce rivalry with them!
Mike roots for Wisconsin, while Zene roots for Notre Dame. The two teams play each other Friday night.
"Fun, because they never play each other, they're in different leagues, so to see they're both playing we figured we can't lose!" Mike said.
"I want to see all of your historical sights and then I want to go to the game," said Zene.
Local tourism officials estimate some 17,000 people will be in town for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, bringing more than $18 million to the city's economy.