SBD/April 1, 2014/Events and Attractions

North Texas Expects Record Final Four Attendance, But Future As Host Site Unclear

Ancillary events in Dallas are a 30-minute drive from the game-site in Arlington
While a "tournament-record attendance is assured" for the Final Four on Saturday and Monday at AT&T Stadium, what is "not assured, despite the ticket demand and financial success of the event, is a return to North Texas by NCAA administrators," according to Jimmy Burch of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. Although local organizers "remain optimistic that future Final Fours will be held in Arlington, the venue is merely one of eight finalists under consideration to host another men's event" between '17-20. Most competing sites "offer something DFW cannot: walkable access between the games and ancillary events such as Bracket Town and the March Madness Music Festival." Even with the "best sports venue on the planet in AT&T Stadium, there is no way to predict how NCAA officials will react when they gauge fans' reaction to a minimum 30-minute commute from ancillary events in downtown Dallas" to the stadium in Arlington. Organizing committee spokesperson Tony Fay said, "Our planning has been very buttoned down. But we can't make the drives any shorter." Burch writes this is a "huge week for members of the local organizing committee, who recall the last-minute hiccups involved with hosting Super Bowl XLV" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 4/1). In Dallas, Tristan Hallman noted police have been "working with the NCAA for months to develop security plans, and they are confident they can handle the crush of crowds." Still, they "fear traffic problems will pump the brakes on the weekend." Arlington PD Lt. Scott Brown said, “We're a landlocked stadium without public transportation. You've got 80,000 people, the majority of which are driving. ... When you've got that many people coming by car in a heavy urban area, you've got some traffic challenges.” He added the NCAA also "has some security requirements and guidelines and checks and balances" that other event partners do not (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/1).
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