Who’s ready for some basketball? We are! 

This time last year, we were welcoming COVID-19 into our everyday reality. And, with its arrival, we had to say goodbye to the 2020 March Madness Tournament. After a disappointing last-minute cancellation last year, we cannot wait to see our favorite men’s college basketball teams get back on the court in our neighboring state of Indiana. 

We can’t emphasize enough how big of a deal this is to us. So, we’ll let NCAA President Mark Emmert do the talking. He is quoted in January saying, “This is a historic moment for NCAA members and the state of Indiana. We have worked tirelessly to reimagine a tournament structure that maintains our unique championship opportunity for college athletes. The reality of today’s announcement was possible thanks to the tremendous leadership of our membership, local authorities, and staff.”

As Emmert said, the NCAA is doing its part to make sure they can pull off a safe tournament for everyone taking part in the games. They’ve outlined special protocols that will keep safety top of mind at all times, from the days leading up to the first game and throughout the entire tournament. For example, all teams will be housed on dedicated hotel floors, will have physically distanced meeting and dining rooms, and will have secure transportation to and from competition venues. Not only are social distancing practices set in place, the NCAA is taking the extra step to ensure safety by partnering with a local health provider to administer COVID-19 testing for players, coaching staff, administrators, and officials. 

Not only are there various methods set in place for tournament participants’ safety, fans, too, must adhere to COVID safety protocols if they want to attend. Yes, you read that right – fans are allowed at the 2021 March Madness Tournament. In February, the NCAA announced that they will welcome fans and family members at 25% capacity. Face coverings and social distancing will be mandatory to keep all fans safe as they cheer on their team. 

Most of the 67 games will be held in Indianapolis on two courts inside Lucas Oil Stadium. Other game locations include Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Mackey Arena in West Lafayette and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington. But you as a spectator don’t need to travel to Indianapolis to safely watch the games. Like the NCAA, the teams at your local Rookwood Commons & Pavilion restaurants and bars have put special safety measures in place so you can get back to enjoying the sports bar experience you missed over the last year.

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse and Buffalo Wild Wings have always been fan favorites at Rookwood Commons & Pavilion. Thanks to their safety measures, it can still be for this year’s March Madness. Both locations have cut back on seating capacity. Their dining area tables are set 6 feet apart and have a maximum capacity of 4-6 people per table. If you have a large group, BJ’s does have one table of 10 available. But, keep in mind, they do not currently take reservations. Not only can you expect to be at a safe social distance from other patrons, you can be sure that everything is kept clean. With regular cleaning every 30 minutes in high-traffic areas as well as thorough cleaning of each table before and after each party, you can feel safe and comfortable as you watch the tournament at your favorite restaurant. 

Plan ahead to have the best viewing party at your favorite Rookwood Commons and Pavilion bars and restaurants: 

  • Sunday, March 14th at 6:00 p.m. – Selection Sunday 
  • Thursday, March 18th at 4:00 p.m. – First Four 
  • Friday, March 19th at 12:00 p.m. through Saturday, March 20th – First Round 
  • Sunday, March 21st at 12:00 p.m. through Monday, March 22nd – Second Round 
  • Saturday, March 27th at 2:00 p.m. through Sunday, March 28th – Sweet Sixteen 
  • Monday, March 29th at 7:00 p.m. through Tuesday, March 30th – Elite Eight 
  • Saturday, April 3rd at 5:00 p.m. – Final Four 
  • Monday, April 5th at 9:00 p.m. – NCAA Championship Game 

We  can’t wait to see you cheering on your favorite teams! Be sure to share your pictures with us on social media so we can feel the team spirit. Don’t forget to tag us @shoprookwood on Instagram and on Facebook.