While it may seem like conventional wisdom holds that the best place to watch the NCAA men’s basketball tournament would be at a restaurant with a plate of wings and a beer, Cincinnatians aren’t flocking to local eateries to watch March Madness.
Data crunched by small business software firm Womply show that last year Cincinnati restaurants saw an average revenue boost of only 1 percent during the tournament.
Compare that to a city like Lawrence, Kan., which saw an average boost of 23 percent during March Madness. Even Lexington, Ky., the closest city to Cincinnati analyzed by Womply, saw about a 10 percent boost.
“Folks in Cincinnati are less prone to go out and spend money locally. They may be watching more at home,” Womply spokesman Brad Plothow told me.
The exception was when the University of Cincinnati Bearcats were playing. On Bearcats game days, restaurants saw an 8.29 percent boost in sales. That was higher than the 6.2 percent average among cities analyzed by Womply, but still well below top cities like Lawrence (48 percent boost), Lexington (29 percent boost), Chicago (28 percent) and Charlottesville, Va. (27 percent boost).
Now, everything changes if a team makes a deep rum, Plothow said. Restaurants see a significant boost the farther the home team makes it into the tournament.
UC will take on University of Iowa in a first-round tournament game 12:15 p.m. Friday (CBS) in Columbus. Northern Kentucky University takes on Texas Tech 1:30 p.m. Friday (TNT) in Tulsa, Okla.