March Madness fans enjoy games, camaraderie & sights and sounds of Jacksonville

Can you feel it? It's March Madness - it's in the air! And on the court, of course!

Action News Jax reporter Courtney Cole spent the afternoon with visitors in the Fan Zone outside of Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena.


Cole learned there was as much going on outside the arena as there was inside, and she's taking a closer look at where visitors are staying after the leave the arena.

Thousands of fans of eight teams are packing Veterans Memorial Arena Thursday night for session two of the first round.
“My daughter wants to play basketball and she's here to see Kentucky. We watch them on TV,” said die-hard Gators fan Mike Castleman.
Yale and LSU kicked off the tournament just after noon Thursday.

STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on breaking stories

Download WJAX Apps
Paula Williams made the trip down from Tennessee to see her beloved Belmont Bruins.
"...They serve as role models for a lot of the kids we brought down with us and other people who are here today,” Williams told Cole.
As the weekend progresses, the city will continue welcome more visitors with open arms.
More than $10 million is expected to be made from the game alone!
Plus, a lot of money is spent on food and leisure and lodging.
“We had some great sea food already at... is it San Marco? San Marco... beautiful part of town,” said Alex McDowell, an Abilene Christian University fan.
According to data from the Duval County Tourism and Development Council.
In 2015, most visitors during NCAA week stayed in The Beaches area, followed by Arlington.
Visitors tended to stay in the Downtown area the least.

Be sure to stay plugged into with our Action Sports Jax team for coverage throughout the rest of March Madness weekend.