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MCI CENTER SETS FOR THE NEW LOOK OF MARCH MADNESS
Published March 11, 1998
In DC, Thomas Heath examines the changes made at MCI Center in preparation for the men's NCAA East Regional games which begin tomorrow. No beer will be served and all DC Lottery machines and signs will be covered "to prevent reference to gambling." Ads for tobacco and alcoholic beverages will also be covered, and the lights on some corporate signs inside the arena bowl will be turned off, "so non-NCAA sponsors can't piggyback on the games." The usual basketball court was replaced with the old Bullets court from USAir Arena, and was repainted with the name of site host George Mason as well as the NCAA, MCI and city of Washington names. Heath adds that since the NCAA allows only its championship merchandise to be sold at tournament events, patrons will not be allowed to enter the Modell's Sporting Goods store at MCI Center through the first floor concourse (Thomas Heath, WASHINGTON POST, 3/11). SLEEPING ROOM ONLY: In San Antonio, Travis Poling reports that in response to the NCAA Final Four Weekend, March 28-30, area hotels "from downtown to the edge of the city ... are sending callers to lodging as far away as Kerrville and Austin." Poling adds that "leftover downtown rooms are going for $200 a night and up"(EXPRESS-NEWS,3/11).