Villanova's NCAA basketball championship team will get a parade in Philadelphia on Friday to celebrate its triumph, followed by a visit to the White House.
A date has yet to be set for the team's D.C. stop, but President Obama on Wednesday afternoon called Head Coach Jay Wright to congratulate the team.
The White House Press Office said Obama -- a basketball fan and sometimes player -- called it an impressive year and a particularly exciting championship game.
"The President looks forward to welcoming the Wildcats to the White House to congratulate the entire team in person," the press office said in a statement.
Until then, the Wildcats and their rabid fans can look forward to the Parade down Market Street in Philadelphia on Friday. It won't be the full-fledged Broad Street version that the Phillies got in 2008, but will be a Center City party nonetheless.
It will run along Market Street from 20th Street to Dilworth Plaza, starting at 1 p.m. There will then be a pep rally on the plaza.
"One of the Big 5 members did really good and won a national championship and that's something we should applaud and be proud of," said Mayor Kenney, a lifelong fan of the city's college basketball scene. "I'm grateful they wanted to be here and not Radnor. We are prepared and want to have these kind of celebrations."
The PECO building, known for its massive LED-lit electronic message board, added Villanova to the Philadelphia skyline Wednesday evening when it began running a special message: “Congrats Villanova 2016 NCAA Champs!”
A spokesman for the utility company said the message would appear atop the high rise at 23rd and Market streets every 10 to 12 minutes through Saturday morning.
SEPTA will boost service on the Norristown High Speed Line, which has three stops on and near Villanova's campus. Passengers can connect with the Market-Frankford Line at 69th Street and take it to 15th Street-City Hall. After the parade, those stations may be bypassed by some trains if platforms become overcrowded. In that case, use the 13th Street and Walnut-Locust stations.
There will not be extra service on Regional Rail, as the Paoli/Thorndale line already runs every 30 minutes on weekdays.
These bus routes will be detoured around City Hall and Dilworth Park from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday: , 4, 7, 16, 17, 27, 31, 32, 33, 38, 44, 48, 62, 124 and 125. More details will be available on SEPTA's website.
Villanova is paying almost all the costs of the parade, which are expected to total $22,000. City spokeswoman Lauren Hitt told Jenice Armstrong of the Daily News that the university will cover police and EMS staffing as well as post-parade cleanup. The city will stump up around $6,500 to set up protective barriers along the parade route and a sound system outside City Hall.
Kenney said the city will "way recover" its expenditure on the event.