SBD/23/Facilities Venues

TROPICANA FIELD OPENS TO GREAT HOOPS ACTION, MIXED REVIEWS

          Tropicana Field, which hosted this weekend's NCAA men's
     south regional and is scheduled to host next year's men's
     Final Four, received mixed reviews from fans and media this
     weekend.  In Tampa, George Coryell wrote that "problems"
     remained as the facility opened Friday night and Tampa
     resident Fred Kurtzman called the facility "disgusting."
     Kurtzman: "I mean, the seats are still full of dirt." 
     However, Coryell reported that "for all the criticism ...
     most fans were forgiving" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/21).  In Tampa,
     Ryan & Minai wrote on the facility's "weaknesses:" the
     "scarcity" of lights on surrounding streets which had fans
     "nervous" as they left the games; a "lack of staffed ticket
     windows;" ATMs and pay phones "scattered throughout" the
     arena, many of which "didn't work;" and a lack of ushers to
     help fans to their correct seats (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/22). In
     Philadelphia, Bill Conlin writes that with just eight days
     remaining before the Devil Rays are due to open their
     season, the stadium "isn't close to ready."  Conlin: "Leaks
     are everywhere, even in the Ebbets Field-style rotunda that
     will be the main entrance" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 3/23).
          AFTERMATH: Despite the problems, "[n]othing huge"
     tarnished Tropicana Field's effort to join the list of elite
     sites for major sports events, "but there were enough
     irritating nuisances" to demonstrate why it is "not yet" on
     that list, reports David Rogers of the ST. PETE TIMES.  Two
     power outages delayed yesterday's Duke-KY regional final,
     one of which lasted four minutes (ST. PETE TIMES, 3/23).  

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