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Atlanta braces for March Madness

8:03 AM, Mar 18, 2013   |    comments
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The Big Dance Concert series drew 140,000 people to New Orleans in 2011. In Atlanta, the concerts will be at Centennial Olympic Park and include the Dave Mathews Band and Sting.

ATLANTA-- The brackets are set. The madness begins.

Millions of dollars surround the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Some of it is money wasted, some of it is money flowing into Atlanta.

LIST OF EVENTS | Final Four weekend
GET YOURS | Printable 2013 NCAA Men's Tournament Bracket

Consulting firm Challenger, Gray, & Christmas crunched the numbers in 2011 and report U.S. companies waste $1.8 billion on unproductive wages. That number is based on each person participating in a bracket spending 20 minutes watching games and checking news during work hours.

Since the number streaming web applications have increased this year, the actual number of wasted hours is expected to be much higher.

The Atlanta organizing committee has been planning for the men's college basketball playoffs for almost a year.

"We've been working so much, but there's still a lot to do," Caitlin Crowley with the Final Four local organizing committee said.

The tournament weekend is expected to draw 100,000 tourists (that number includes people from outside the city coming in for the event; it does not count city residents attending those same events). She estimates 10,000 hotel rooms will be booked, with an overall economic impact of $70 million.

SIGN UP | Volunteer for Final Four Weekend

The semi-final and final games will be the big draw, but events form a 5K to a three-day music festival will keep downtown Atlanta busy from Apr. 5-8. To make it happen, they need 2,000 volunteers to step up.

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