NCAA In Early Talks To Move Some Future Men's Final Fours From Domes To Arenas
The NCAA and the men's basketball selection committee "have discussed the possibility of moving the Final Four out of a dome and into an arena in a major metropolitan city," according to Andy Katz of ESPN.com. The Final Four, booked through '16, "hasn't been played in an arena since 1996." The chances of that changing "remain a longshot, but it was brought up at the selection committee's summer meeting and again last week at the National Association of Basketball Coaches meeting" by new NCAA Exec VP/Championships & Alliances Mark Lewis. Lewis on Thursday said that when he "was hired earlier this year, he took out a United States map and saw that both coasts are largely left off from hosting the Final Four." Lewis: "None of the cities where we play our championship is named New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago or Miami. We don't play on a campus. We play in professional football arenas." Xavier Univ. AD and selection committee Chair Mike Bobinski said that the committee "must decide if it makes sense to exclude key areas of the country just because they don't have arenas that meet the specs required to host a Final Four." Lewis said that the committee "has to ask itself if the Final Four is a true national championship, why are only certain parts of the country, mostly in the middle, allowed to promote and showcase it." But Katz noted going from "an arena with 70,000-seat capacity to 20,000 would be a huge hit for ticket revenue." Lewis said that the NCAA "will analyze if there is an offset of cost if it doesn't have to deal with setting up and tearing down the set-up at a dome for a basketball event" (ESPN.com, 9/6).