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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Main Gate business hopping as UA basketball teams win


Students watching the Arizona vs. UCLA men’s basketball game on the patio of Frog & Firkin. Arizona would lose the game 75-59. (Photograph by Matthew McNulty from El Inde Arizona) 

The Arizona basketball teams have generated an exceptional amount of excitement for the 2022 season, with both the men’s and women’s teams being nationally ranked. The men’s team is No. 3 and the women’s team is No. 8. 

With all the televised games and high expectations, business at bars and restaurants along University Boulevard is booming. 

As throngs of fans flock to the popular Arizona entertainment district next to the University of Arizona Main Gate, the focus is what’s showing on the big flat screens at Gentle Ben’s, Frog & Firkin’, Illegal Pete’s and No Anchovies. As crowds gather, the overall atmosphere is akin to what one would expect to see at a crowded sports bar watching a UFC fight or football game. 

RELATED: No. 6 Arizona WBB bounces back and beats rival ASU 62-58 at home

Jordan Branco, a bartender at the popular restaurant Gentle Ben’s, said basketball games are a major attraction and one of the busier nights of the week for the venue. However, she was quick to note that there was a difference in the atmosphere between men’s and women’s games

“Regardless of how the men’s team does, they will be talked about and the games will continue to be popular,” Branco said. “For the women’s games to come close to the same amount of excitement, they have to be doing extremely well.”

Branco was also quick to note that the business was often better on nights where the teams won because people tend to stay at the bar “for a while” after wins. When Arizona loses, people tend to leave immediately after the game.

Gretchen Patze, a manager at Frog & Firkin’, said that “virtually anything to do with the UA helps our business,” adding that the continued success of both basketball programs has been a driving factor for busy nights.

“The further they go in the tournaments, the busier we get,” said Patze, adding that servers and bartenders are “banking on” the teams’ success for busy nights at the bars. 

With strong performances from both the men’s and women’s teams, the overall effect has been packed bars and patios, with groups of fans’ eyes glued to the screens. 

The men’s team record stands at 22-2 and will play Oregon State at home on Feb. 17. The women’s team has a record of 18-4 and will play the University of Washington on the road on Feb. 18. 

*El Inde Arizona is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.   

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