SBD/11/Events Attractions

MCI CENTER SETS FOR THE NEW LOOK OF MARCH MADNESS

          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).

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