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MERCHANDISE-MANIA AS MADNESS DESCENDS ON SAN ANTONIO, K.C.
Published March 27, 1998
As fans arrive in San Antonio for this weekend's men's Final Four, stores in the city "are bursting with Final Four fashions," according to Courtenay Martin of the SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS. Gear For Sports, the official merchandiser for the event, is the only vendor selling official goods in the downtown area, 25 major hotels and the airport, although "most" major department stores and sports retail shops in the city are carrying both official and unofficial items (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 3/26). Gear For Sports and K.C.- based BlairLake New Media have launched finalfourstore.com, a web site which sells official Final Four clothing and merchandise. The site, which opened March 12, is attracting "about" 6,000 visitors a day (K.C. STAR, 3/27). WOMEN'S FINAL FOUR: Kansas City is hosting this weekend's women's Final Four, and Rick Alm writes that the city is expected to "reap more than" $20M in revenue as a result of the event (K.C. STAR, 3/27). CORPORATE HANGOVER: In San Antonio, Poling & Vaughan write that the city is "the place for corporations to be seen" this weekend, as media "swarm the city" and "more than" 40,000 fans bring "millions of dollars in purchasing power" to San Antonio. Official NCAA sponsors, including Mountain Dew, GTE, Gillette, AmEx and Sears are "milking the event for all it's worth," with many staging "highly publicized" trips and ticket giveaways....46-year-old PA train conductor Bob Fairgrieve will get the chance to sink a three-point shot for $1M between tomorrow's NCAA men's semifinal games, in a contest sponsored by Gillette (EXPRESS-NEWS, 3/26)....The finals of the Miller Lite Dick Vitale Sound-A-Like contest will be held today in San Antonio. Chris Fowler will emcee the event, with Vitale and Digger Phelps among the judges (THE DAILY)....Both San Antonio and Kansas City will host the "NCAA Hoop City" interactive exhibits in conjunction with the Final Fours. It is the first time the attraction has accompanied a women's Final Four. NCAA officials expect 40,000 people to attend in K.C., and 75,000 in San Antonio (K.C. STAR, 3/27). FINAL FOUR THOUGHTS: An editorial in today's WALL STREET JOURNAL addresses the NCAA basketball tournament: "Forget the NBA, with its slick 'I love this game' promotion. We're tired of watching overhyped, overpampered guys mugging with Jack Nicholson, Spike Lee and the $1,000- ticket crowd. ... We prefer the NCAAs because the kids still love the game" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/27).