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Local bars, restaurants reap rewards from big sports weekend

SPOKANE, Wash. - With both the Zag men and women moving on in their respective NCAA tournaments and the Pacific Northwest Qualifiers, it's been a big sports weekend in Spokane and local businesses are reaping the rewards.

Visit Spokane tells KXLY the PNQ brings thousands of people to the area and generates over $12 million for the local economy, in the biggest sports event of the year -- even bigger than Hoopfest and Bloomsday. That, coupled with the crazy consistent Zags, makes for a nice March at bars around town.

Tim O'Doherty says he's seen the excitement for the NCAA tournament die down in his nearly 30 years on Spokane Falls Boulevard, but a handful of other owners say it's one of their busiest times of the year.

"It's probably not right, but we've come to just expect that we're gonna get to cheer for Gonzaga and have a little bit bigger crowds on the days they play," said O'Doherty, who runs O'Doherty's Irish Grille. "You come to take things for granted over time and we just assume that Gonzaga's going to be good. You know, we just assume that the Gonzaga games will see a little uptick in business."

O'Doherty hopes to see that uptick extend into April, if the Zags can keep surviving and advancing.

"The fact that it's happened for 20, 25 years, that's beyond expectations. That's freaky," he said. "I think it's a source of great pride for our city. And rightfully so."

Bars are expected to fill up fast Thursday as Gonzaga takes on Florida State in the Sweet 16.


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