NCAA Open To Another North Texas Final Four After This Year's "Unqualified Success"
AT&T Stadium "earned its share of believers as a Final Four venue in its debut in that role, with multiple NCAA administrators offering praise at the conclusion of a long weekend marked by record-setting crowds and minimal traffic snarls," according to Jimmy Burch of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. NCAA VP/Men's Basketball Championship Dan Gavitt "offered his blessing for a future Final Four in Arlington after watching the venue set three attendance records by the conclusion of Monday night’s title game: best-attended Final Four (158,682 for two sessions), largest crowd for an NCAA championship game (79,238 on Monday night) and largest single-day crowd for a college basketball game (79,444 for Saturday’s semifinal doubleheader)." Gavitt said, "It's been an unqualified success." He added that the rainy weather did "not raise a negative issue that could be held against DFW in efforts to attract future Final Fours" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 4/9). A DALLAS MORNING NEWS editorial states, "Well, that was some party, wasn’t it? A good time had by almost all, even with what is becoming predictably dicey weather for a big event." Some may "quibble with the sight lines for basketball or the sheer size, but few would argue" that AT&T Stadium, "isn't the best of its kind on U.S. soil." North Texas is "spread out and doesn't offer the compact downtown setting that puts the big stadium, hotels and ancillary events all within easy walks." But "this we can overcome." Final Four organizers "proved that with fleets of transportation, splitting events among Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington brings more overall resources to bear" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/9).
EVERYTHING'S BETTER IN TEXAS? In Dallas, Jeff Mosier notes the North Texas region within the next year "will host the first College Football Championship Game, the Academy of Country Music Awards," and is a "finalist for another Final Four." Dallas attorney Matt Wood also is "leading the effort" to bring the '24 Summer Games to the area. Sports helped "boost the region’s reputation," but off the field, the area is "becoming a more serious player nationally." Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said, "We've already moved from a tier 2 convention and special events site to a tier 1. People are coming here and realizing that our product is much better than our perception.” Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau President & CEO Phillip Jones said that AT&T Stadium "gave the region a promotional reach it couldn't have afforded otherwise." He said that other events that have "enhanced the area’s reputation" include the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which brought together all five living U.S. presidents. The city also received "national attention for its remembrance of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy." Rawlings said, "It's a combination of all these things. That’s what momentum usually is. That’s why you push on every front." Wood said, "Dallas 2024 is going to benefit from the knowledge we’ve gained from hosting a Super Bowl now and a Final Four and NBA (All-Star) weekend." Rawlings: "Word starts to get out. We’ve always had our central location, so that’s always worked for us. Now these other things are falling into place" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/9).