As a "contentious national battle rages on between ticket sellers and resellers over who owns the rights to a ticket, the digital ticket will get its biggest test this week at the Final Four in Atlanta," according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com. That is because "about 30,000 seats in the Georgia Dome, roughly" 40% of the total inventory, will be digital tickets. Never have "so many seats been digital for a sporting event as large as this." For the past couple of years, the NCAA "used digital tickets only for the 2,800 student tickets it gave out." The students are "once again included in this group, but are now joined by anyone who won the tickets through the NCAA's lottery, as well as college coaches who are allowed to purchase tickets through the allotment given to them by the National Association of Basketball Coaches." NCAA officials, sponsors and PrimeSport, which is "running the organization's hospitality program, have paper tickets." One source said that the NCAA over a three-year period studied "how tickets were distributed and who ultimately received them." Irregularities were "discovered including blocks of tickets that wound up in the hands of brokers" (ESPN.com. 4/3).
Events and Attractions
A Davis Cup quarterfinal tie will be played at Boise State Univ. this weekend, and Novak Djokovic would "not be the only one wondering" if the USTA had "taken a wrong turn in the star-studded ski resort Sun Valley and kept going," according to Judy Battista of the N.Y. TIMES. USTA Team Events Senior Dir Jeff Ryan said his children even asked him, “Dad, why are you going out there?” The answer is, "in part, a blend of geography and old friends." It also is "about how much local interest is generated by the oddity of elite level tennis being played in an area best known in the sports world for the electric blue shade of Boise State’s football field." When the teams held a "one-hour open workout for fans Wednesday afternoon, at least 250 people lined up before the doors opened." BSU tennis coach Greg Patton said, "It’s so cool. It’s like Jesus and the Virgin Mary are coming here for a concert and they’re bringing the Beatles with them." He added, "When people see tennis at this level, it’s going to light a fire, they’re going to go crazy." That "works fine" for the USTA. Ryan said that the organization considers Davis Cup locations "a marketing tool, designed to bring top-tier tennis to less traditional strongholds that have little chance of hosting an ATP World Tour event." He said that Boise and Tucson "emerged as the strongest candidates for this event" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/5). USA TODAY's Doug Robson noted Boise is the "smallest market outside of Hawaii and Puerto Rico ever to host a Davis Cup tie." But Boise is "no tennis Timbuktu." It has one of the "highest per-capita adult recreational leagues run by the USTA, plenty of public outdoor courts and once was home to" World TeamTennis franchise Idaho Sneakers (USATODAY.com, 4/4).
HOPING FOR THE BEST: In Boise, Chadd Cripe noted Patton was "hoping for a sellout, which appears unlikely, but the event has sold more than 8,000 tickets for each of the three days." That would more than "double the attendance for the first-round tie in Jacksonville, Fla. (three-day total of 10,815)." Ryan said that the sales have been "in the same range as other similar home ties." The "capacity this week is 11,000." Ryan: "Eight thousand is something we'd be really pleased with" (IDAHO STATESMAN, 4/3). TENNIS.com's Matt Cronin noted Djokovic, who "grew up in the mountains of Serbia," said that Boise will be the "highest altitude he's ever played in his career." Djokovic: "I've played in high altitude before in my life, but not matches. ... This is the highest that I'm going to play ever in my life. And it makes a difference" (TENNIS.com, 4/4).