March 15, 2019

Study: March Madness is good for Ann Arbor restaurants, except when Wolverines play (Detroit Free Press) »

March Madness is great for Ann Arbor bars and restaurants but not so much when the home team plays.

That’s according to a new study from small business software company Womply, which analyzed transactions at college town bars and restaurants around the country during the 2018 NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Last year in Ann Arbor, Womply found restaurant revenues grew by nearly 10% on March Madness game days compared to average days.

But that revenue boost shrunk to just 2.7 percent on days the Michigan Wolverines took to the court.

“This may indicate Wolverine fans are more likely to watch Michigan games at home, rather than go out to watch the game at a restaurant with friends and family,” a Womply representative wrote in an email.

That dynamic isn’t very common among other college towns and is the inverse of what happens in most other places.

Nationally, restaurants in college towns with a team in the tournament see an increase of 6.2 percent on game days and that number increases to 9.4 percent when the home team plays, according to the report.

With Michigan basketball expected to take another deep run at the NCAA championship, that could mean March Madness will turn out to be more like March Meh-ness for Ann Arbor bars and restaurants.

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