Sports fans happy to be enjoying March Madness again, one year after COVID-19 pandemic shuttered NCAA tournament

Updated: Mar. 20, 2021 at 10:47 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Sports fans from different teams came together Friday night to enjoy an evening of college basketball.

One of the biggest games of the evening was UNC Tarheels versus the University of Wisconsin-Madison Badgers.

It was an exciting evening at Picasso’s Sports Cafe in North Charlotte. Loyal fans say it was amazing to finally see their favorite players one year after the COVID-19 pandemic brought the NCAA tournament to a screeching halt.

“Last year was tough for the Tarheel fans, but I’m super excited to see them play this year,” said UNC fan Joel Padgett.

“It’s great to see everybody back on the court, playing and doing what they love to do,” said UNC fan Julia Bailey.

North Carolina’s COVID restrictions still have 11 pm as the last time to serve alcohol, fans from other teams took advantage of the hours leading up to 11, and pulled up a chair to the evening’s games.

“I’m just glad March Madness is back, bars are doing good, it’s time people get back out again, enjoy sports, and get back to life,” said University of Florida fan Mike Grandone.

Employees took temperatures at the door, kept an eye on capacity, and masks were required.

“We’re trying to be cautious and use our masks, distance, and just enjoy ourselves, but it feels great being back out with the community again,” Bailey said.

Win or lose, people said they were happy to be out on a Friday night and part of the madness.

“Sports just brings everybody together so it’s nice to just have it, it’s good,” said customer Ryan Andreas.

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