The next best thing to catching a live college basketball game is getting to watch it with a bunch of friends on the big screen. And there is no bigger screen in the Tri-State area than at Showplace Cinemas.

Beginning with tonight’s Kentucky vs. Duke game, scheduled to tipoff at 8:30 p.m. CST, Showplace Cinemas plans to start showing select sporting events in their theater - with food and booze served in the auditorium to sweeten the deal.

“Anything that regular TV shows, we can show, but we can’t charge for it,” said Paul Stieler, chief executive officer for Showplace Cinemas. “So that’s probably the best thing about this: It’s free.”

Stieler says that he has seen other theaters across the country be successful with these types of events. “Up in Detroit, some theaters opened up for the Tigers in the World Series and got a great response,” he said. “We’re allowed to show pretty much anything except the NFL Package.

Free tickets will be made available tonight stating at 6:00 p.m. on a “first-come, first-serve basis until we fill the auditorium’s 250 seats,” according to Stieler.

Showplace Cinema plans to post their sporting events schedule on their website, which you can reach by clicking here.

[Courier Press]