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Final Four At Ford Field Draws 72,456 Fans,
Setting An NCAA Tournament Record
RIGHT GAME, WRONG PLACE? In Detroit, Mike Lopresti wrote watching the game from the top floor at Ford Field is "not a bad view, especially if you're a hawk." You "see the ball dribbled, and an instant later, you hear the bounce." Lopresti: "Welcome to the Final Four -- in the new jumbo size." From the upper deck, Ford Field "looks vast and beautiful, if not quite the place you want to have a basketball game" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 4/4). Former college basketball coach Rollie Massimino: "It's amazing. It's like 70,000 people and only 15,000 good seats" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/6). In California, Frank Burlison writes the "logistics and atmosphere in Ford Field just didn't feel right" on Saturday. If 60-65% of fans "need field glasses in order to clearly make out the uniform numbers, then the building is too big for basketball" (Long Beach PRESS-TELEGRAM, 4/6). In Charlotte, Ken Tysiac noted about two-thirds of Saturday's crowd was rooting for MSU, but the "home-court advantage wasn't overwhelming for the Spartans," because Ford Field is "so big the sound simply couldn't fill it" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/5). The OBSERVER's Tysiac also wrote in the closing minutes of the North Carolina-Villanova semifinal, if "you hadn't known any better, you would have thought you were at the ACC tournament at the Georgia Dome" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/5). North Carolina F Tyler Hansbrough said the raised arena floor is a "little awkward." UNC coach Roy Williams added, "If I ever turn into an architect, I would not build a gym like that. If I'm a head coach or athletic director, I will never have a building built like that. It's just not comfortable as a coach. Is it better for fans? I don't know. But I'm not a fan" (USA TODAY, 4/6).
Detroit's Downtown Traffic Has Been Biggest
Concern For NCAA During Final Four Weekend
SPONSOR ACTIVATION: Final Four organizers said that "neither the hefty price tag nor the recession has hampered the NCAA's budget" for the event because "many corporate sponsors signed multiyear contracts years ago." AT&T this weekend hosted The Big Dance, a "music festival on the riverfront," while Coca-Cola hosted the weekend-long NCAA Hoop City party at Cobo Center. However, in Detroit, Jaclyn Trop reported that because of the economy, "some companies that locked into NCAA contracts are trying to cut spending where they can" (DETROIT NEWS, 4/4).
Honda Grand Prix Of St. Petersburg Drew An
Estimated 140,000 Fans Over Three Days
Many Feel Danica Patrick Should Stay
In IRL Where Sponsors, Fans Love Her
BEGINNER'S MANUAL: The AP's Mike Harris reported Richard Petty Motorsports co-Owner Richard Petty "will make his first foray into the Indianapolis 500 as an owner when he fields a car for John Andretti in next month's race." Andretti drove for the now-defunct Petty Enterprises NASCAR team from '98-'03. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, which runs the full IndyCar Series, "will work with Petty at Indy, providing equipment and personnel" (AP, 4/4).
WELCOME BACK? Penske said that if IRL driver Helio Castroneves is cleared of federal tax evasion charges, he "would return to the No. 3 car." Castroneves' case in U.S. District Court in Miami "could go to the 12-member jury this week" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 4/5).
NASCAR Drivers, Execs Feel Move To Vegas
Would Create Opportunity To Include Fans
RIGHT CHOICE?: In Milwaukee, Dave Kallmann wrote, "I'm a big fan of Las Vegas. ... I just don't see it as the place to put on an event that's supposed to exude elegance and class. It's a place to go if you're going to do something that you'd be ashamed of somewhere else. It screams bachelor party, not black-tie banquet." More Kallmann: "Perhaps NASCAR will change the format to somehow include fans. That would be OK" (JSONLINE.com, 4/3). In Charlotte, David Poole wrote of the event moving to Las Vegas, "I don't think that's a bad idea, but I don't think simply moving it will change much or fix anything. It's not so much about where as it is what. What's important is the ceremony is moved to a larger venue where fans can be part of the show. If it's easier to make that happen in Las Vegas, then moving it is the right thing to do" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/5).