Record crowds filled Atlanta for the Final Four, pumping $70M into the economy
Officials on all fronts are "praising Atlanta for a successful weekend" hosting the Final Four, with Mayor Kasim Reed saying that the event "pumped more than" $70M into the local economy, according to Ernie Suggs of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. Concerts at Centennial Olympic Park by Sting, Dave Matthews Band and Ludacris were "so packed that Reed said the Atlanta Fire Department had to monitor the crowds." Attendance for Saturday's semifinal games was "more than 75,000." An NCAA-record crowd of "more than 74,300" watched Louisville beat Michigan in the title game. Atlanta Basketball Host Committee Chair John Yates said, "It exceeded all expectations on all fronts. ... I think we earned an A-plus. We cannot wait to host another big event. This was an Olympic-like atmosphere." Local hospitality leaders also were "exuberant about what they characterized as a flawless Final Four" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 4/10
). In Atlanta, Carroll Rogers writes the "buzz of the Final Four began to fade" yesterday. But the "culmination of the NCAA tournament’s 75th anniversary always will be one to remember." The experiment of holding the D-II and D-III Championships in town alongside the Final Four was "well-received." NCAA VP/Men's Basketball Tournament Dan Gavitt said, “We were absolutely thrilled with the way things went here in Atlanta.” The D-II championship at Philips Arena between Drury and Metro State "drew 7,763 fans, the largest crowd for a Division II championship" since '71. In the D-III game, Amherst College defeated Mary Hardin-Baylor "in front of 6,284 fans." The NCAA plans to "gather feedback from coaches before deciding whether to hold it" at future Final Four sites, as "not every host city has two arenas so conveniently located." But so far, the feedback "has been good." Outgoing NCAA Tournament Selection Committee Chair Mike Bobinski said, "If you asked the teams that were here, they’d say, ‘Let’s do it again and keep doing it.'" Another change for Atlanta was the "new configuration, with the court in the center of the Georgia Dome" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 4/10
MUSIC CITY MASTERPIECE?
In Nashville, Jaquetta White notes the city is "next to host" the women's Final Four. Nashville Sports Council President & CEO Scott Ramsey said that fundraising, both "privately and in coordination with [the city], is going 'extremely well'" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 4/10