Mass Mutual Center ready for busy weekend - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Mass Mutual Center ready for busy weekend

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

The Mass Mutual Center expects close to 20,000 people to enter the facility over the course of this weekend, which is as about as busy as it can get at the complex.

"Our role is to really bring events to Downtown Springfield," said Matt Hollander, general manager of the Mass Mutual Center. "If we can accommodate five events at the same time, we'll do five events at the same time."

That is exactly what is happening inside Hollander's facility this weekend.

It all started Thursday night with a nationally televised weekend-long billiards tournament in the convention center.

Friday night, the Springfield Armor have their home opener.

Saturday, the nationally ranked University of Massachusetts men's basketball team plays at 1:30 p.m.

Then the real work kicks in, as the center has to transition for a Springfield Falcons hockey game Saturday night.

It all ends with another Armor game on Sunday afternoon. Hollander told CBS 3 that the biggest issue for his staff is safety.

"Of course we want to have the building clean and ready to accept our guests, but we also want to make sure that when we get ready to transition the building, we do so safely," Hollander stated. "So, we make sure we have plenty of trained staff here."

Gabi Visoiu is in Springfield from Romania.

He is part of the European team playing in this weekend's billiards tournament. He has been traveling with the team for the last four years and said he can now add Western Massachusetts to a list that includes Russia and China.

"When everybody asks me, does it pay well, I say no," said Visoiu. "But, I don't count my earnings in dollars or currency. I count it in miles traveled."

With thousands traveling into Springfield this weekend, the Mass Mutual Center expects their events to impact local businesses and restaurants too.

"There's going to be a vibrancy downtown," said Hollander. "A real energy that isn't going to be just inside the building, but all around Downtown Springfield and the surrounding area."

As far as the arena is concerned, Hollander said it will take close to 800 man-hours to make sure everything goes off without a hitch this weekend.

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