ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Basketball fans from across the country are in Albany through this weekend for the NCAA Tournament at MVP Arena. For local businesses, especially those situated near the festivities, there’s hope that the influx of people will provide a big boost.

At Maurice’s Deli, located directly across the street from the arena, they’re hoping to serve up their sandwiches to fans all weekend long.

“We’d like to hope so. They’ll be here, whether or not we get them in and they support us, that’s to be determined,” said Keith Mahler Jr., the owner and operator of the deli.

Maurice’s is typically open Monday through Friday, but with the tournament in town, they’ll be open this weekend. The business has seen firsthand the impact events at the arena can have for them and others.

“It’s big. It does a lot of things for all the local businesses down here, for Downtown Albany and it’s what we need after what everyone’s been through,” said Mahler.

There’s also set to be fun experiences for fans outside of the arena, including block parties with food trucks and other activities. Local retail stores in the area, like Fresh & Fly, are looking forward to that opportunity.

“I’m super excited that my business is right in the heart of where everything is going to be taking place, right by the MVP Arena, so Fresh and Fly will be here to take care of all the people that’s in the area,” said Angelo Maddox, the store’s owner.

With the influx of people, Maddox is hoping some of his new customers will come from the hardwood, “I’m looking forward to more than one of the players coming in and buying a pair of sneakers, a hat, a shirt, or anything. We are looking forward to getting them fresh and fly.”

The tournament is expected to bring in millions in economic impact for the region. Discover Albany estimates a $3.5 million impact.

The Downtown Albany Business Improvement District says this is a conservative estimate, as they look forward to the opportunity for local businesses.

“I anticipate it to be much higher. All five of the hotels downtown are completely booked, all of our restaurants are ready to welcome visitors. We’ve got the games on every TV in downtown possible,” said Georgette Steffens, the Executive Director of Downtown Albany BID.

The NCAA Tournament was supposed to be in Albany in 2020, but was axed when the tournament was canceled because of COVID.

On top of the opportunities for this year’s tourney, the city will also host the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament next year as well.