Georgia Dome's Final Four Capacity Increased By More Than 20,000 From '07 Event
Georgia Dome officials said that changes to the venue's set-up for this year's Final Four “will push capacity past 74,000," according to Tim Tucker of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. The Georgia Dome for the Final Four in '02 an '07 was "configured to seat about 53,000 people," but the NCAA “subsequently decided that wasn’t nearly enough, figuring an expansion to 70,000-plus could generate" an additional $4M per year in revenue. About 18,000 black temporary seats “have been, or will be, installed.” The basketball court, previously “installed on one end of the massive stadium floor, has been relocated to the middle,” and an “elaborate, temporary seating system has been erected on top of the permanent lower-level seating bowl, extending almost to the court.” The “dark, towering curtain that typically has closed off thousands of distant seats” for basketball games in the Dome now is “gone.” Placing the court in the middle of "massive domed stadiums required the NCAA to remake the venues’ lower seating bowls to provide clear sightlines to the elevated court and to push fans closer to the court without obstructing the view of those behind them.” The NCAA to accomplish that “purchased a portable seating system, which has been installed at each Final Four site" since '09. The risers “sit atop much of the Georgia Dome’s regular lower-bowl seating, changing the angle and allowing 22 additional rows of seats that extend to within a few yards of the court.” There also is “a change overhead from previous Final Fours in the Georgia Dome: The NCAA has had a massive eight-sided video board installed above the court, similar to the one constructed for last year’s Final Four in New Orleans.” It marks the “first time the Georgia Dome has had a center-hung video board for a sporting event” (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 4/2).