With the Canadian Interuniversity Sport men’s basketball championships back in Halifax, ticket sales are the highest they’ve been since the last time the city played host.

Hotels near the Scotiabank Centre have been filling up during a normally slow time of the year.

"Any event this time of year that brings people from as far as Cape Breton, to get away for a night or a weekend, is tremendous for us and for any restaurants and bars around town," said hotel general manager Scott Travis.

Taverns are also warmly welcoming basketball fans. Bar co-owner Eric Grant says he’s noticing a special spin for business this weekend.

“(It’s) like a homecoming the last couple of days,” said Grant. “They came here for 24, 25 years in a row, and they're really glad to be back. They missed it. I think if you asked any of them, they didn't agree that it should be moved out of here."

Over 5,000 fans watched the Dalhousie Tigers advance to the semifinals with a nail-biting win over the Alberta Golden Bears, coming out on top 67-65.

More than double the amount of people has turned out at this tournament compared to other cities. Even specialty operators are noticing a hike in business.

"Someone came in today, we asked him what he was up to, and he said he was here for the basketball this weekend, getting his fuel – his candy fuel," said candy store employee Olivia Graham.

Any big event downtown will create parking issues, much like a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game. The incoming winter weather isn’t expected to help. 

“Additionally, we will also have the overnight winter parking ban in effect (Saturday) from one to six a.m., so all cars should be off street during that time period," said Tiffany Chase, spokesperson for the Halifax Regional Municipality.

The Dalhousie Tigers will take on the top-ranked Ryerson Rams at the Scotiabank Centre Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ron Shaw.