MILWAUKEE — Businesses around Fiserv Forum are getting ready for this weekend when March Madness comes to town.
Fiserv Forum will host eight teams in the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament—including the Wisconsin Badgers. The Badgers are scheduled to play Colgate Friday night.
Staff at nearby businesses were taking advantage of Monday's peace and quiet to prepare for the weekend.
"We're getting more staff in the door, stocking heavy, ordering heavy," said Taco Mike's manager Keyontis Barksdale.
Barksdale says he learned a lot from the crowds during the NBA finals over the summer, and is keeping that in mind for the upcoming weekend.
"We had big moments with the Bucks in the playoffs. Any Bucks game, Admirals game, anything like that, it's always busier," Barksdale said. "This being such a huge tournament coming up and it being here, it's going to be big."
Officials with Fiserv Forum say it's going to be packed. They are opening up Deer District and the beer garden. There will be food and drinks available for purchase on and near the plaza. Punch Bowl Social is opening back up again. Officials say they are following city health guidance, and there will be no Covid-19 capacity limits or mask requirements.
"This is going to feel like, I think, the closest thing we've had to a Bucks playoff experience that we've had since the finals," said Michael Belot. "So anybody who has a ticket obviously is going to have a tremendous experience inside Fiserv Forum, but I think what's cool is you're also going to be able to have that experience outside and a little taste of what you felt in the playoffs last year."
He said they are treating parking the way they did during the finals—using what's already available. He said it may be full, and people can find parking in other places around the city.
Around the corner at Brick 3 Pizza, staff is also working ahead.
"A lot of boxes right now, folding our boxes, a lot of prep work," said manager Keith Kruser.
At Who's on Third, staff says they are setting up extra bars inside and are getting their staff energized. They want to make sure fans have just as good of a time at a nearby business as they would inside Fiserv.
"This is what our jobs is, serve people, make them happy and just get the crowd going," said manager Gabriel Burkhalter. "I am pumped. It's nice to have something like this after all of Covid."