Big business expected for FGCU game

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Big business expected for FGCU game

By Matt Grant. CREATED Mar 29, 2013

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The madness is at fever pitch in Dunk City.

At Florida Gulf Coast University's book store Friday morning, the line to buy March Madness shirts snaked around the store.

"It's pretty much the most exciting thing to happen to southwest Florida ever," an FGCU student said.

A Georgetown fan on vacation from Washington D.C drove an hour to buy shirts for her and her friends.

"Got shirts for my brother who's babysitting the dog back home," she said. "We got shirts for the girlfriend, so everybody's going to get a shirt."

At the Keys Bar and Grill in the Gulf Coast Town Center, Kevin Douglas began preparing early on.

"We bought probably an extra 14 kegs to be ready for this," said Douglas.

Douglas says they are spending three times the amount on inventory than they normally would for a Friday night.

"Sunday night we packed out three hours earlier than the game started," said Douglas. "So we were completely full. This game we know we'll be full."

So full, Douglass installed an inflatable TV screen to accommodate an overflow crowd. He expects the game will be a slam dunk for profits.

"I would say it's a 400 percent increase," said Douglas. "Easily."

He also expects a regular menu item, "gator bites," (made from gator tails) to be a popular seller among FGCU fans.

"Everybody will have a great time eating gator tonight," said Douglas.

Of course there are plenty of Florida fans living in Dunk City cheering on the Gators. At the Edison, home to the Gators Fan Club, is also expecting a big night.

"With Florida being here we can plan on an extra $3-4,000 tonight," said the general manager of Edison. "We're going to have a good night tonight. Plenty of fans from both sides."

Fans like Shazmynn Burnette says she's sticking with her gators.

"It's real tough because a lot of people are dogging on me right now because I'm a UF fan, I'm standing behind them," said Burnette. "Die hard gator fan. Chomp chomp. So we'll see what happens."

Matt Grant

Follow me on Twitter @MattGrantFox4