Snow Storm In Buffalo Won't Affect NCAA Tournament; Greenville Sells Out Regional Tix
Two days of snow in Buffalo "won't hinder teams and their fans from making their way to KeyBank Center for the NCAA Tournament basketball games" starting today, according to Sandra Tan of the BUFFALO NEWS. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said that 25 crews will "help clear streets and sidewalks in and around the arena and downtown area to make sure fans can easily reach the arena." Brown added that the city-owned parking ramps downtown near the arena will "offer all-day tournament parking for a flat rate of $10 as an effort to roll out the red carpet for visitors." HarborCenter GM Michael Gilbert said that he "didn't believe the storm will diminish fan attendance at the tournament." Gilbert: "These are rabid college basketball fans -- Wisconsin, Notre Dame, West Virginia, Villanova -- last year's national champion. They're not going to let a little snow stop them." He said that the arena has "sold nearly 19,000 tickets to the tournament series, with only 300-level single seats still available" (BUFFALO NEWS, 3/16). In Buffalo, Rey & Pignataro in a front-page piece note more snow fell in the city on Monday, Tuesday and yesterday than all of January and February "combined" (BUFFALO NEWS, 3/16).
GREENVILLE GIANTS: In South Carolina, Manie Robinson reports the combination of Duke, North Carolina and South Carolina at the Greenville regional helped Bon Secours Wellness Arena "quickly become the first of the eight opening- round sites to sell out of tickets." Furman AD Mike Buddie, who is on the regional's organizing committee, jokingly said, "We’re pretty disappointed we didn’t get Kentucky also." Buddie: "I did feel all along that between North Carolina, Duke or Kentucky, we were likely to get at least one and probably two. It never really dawned on me that we could possibly get the Gamecocks, too. I just thought there was no sense even wishing for that" (GREENVILLE NEWS, 3/16). In Raleigh, Luke DeCock writes Greenville and Columbia, S.C., have both submitted bids to host tourney games in the '19-22 cycle, and with North Carolina "out of the picture, they’ll probably get them." No one "stands to profit more" from North Carolina's controversial HB2 than South Carolina. In Greenville, there is a "definite sense of opportunity, with North Carolina potentially excluded from six years of NCAA events unless HB2 is repealed in the next few days" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 3/16).
MILWAUKEE'S BEST: In Milwaukee, Joe Taschler noted tourney games today and Saturday at BMO Harris Bradley Center will feature four schools -- Butler, Minnesota, Iowa State and Purdue -- that are "located within a six-hour drive or less from Milwaukee," which is "likely to add to the weekend crowds." Visit Milwaukee Dir of Communications for Convention & Tourism Organization Kristin Settle said, "We're really fortunate that so many ... are 'drive-in' teams." Taschler notes the city will "see about 6,300 hotel room nights sold as a result of the tournament." Meanwhile, the AHL Milwaukee Admirals play the Iowa Wild at 7:00pm CT on Friday. Admirals VP/Communications Charlie Larson said that the team plans to "reach out to fans of the hoops teams that win Thursday and offer the hockey game as an option for Friday, which is a tournament off day in Milwaukee" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 3/16). In Reno, Chris Murray notes Nevada today is "expected to have a nice-sized crowd" for its first-round game against Iowa State, but the school's group of fans will "likely be one of the smallest groups of the eight teams in Milwaukee." Nevada AD Doug Knuth said, "We're going to sell our allotment, which is about 350 tickets." Nevada coach Eric Musselman said, "There’s going to be a lot of Cyclone fans in there. We understand that. We’re going to need some people because we know there’s going to be about 8,000-10,000 Cyclone fans" (RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL, 3/16).
HOT IN THE HOOSIER STATE: In Indianapolis, Anthony Schoettle noted first- and second-round games set for tomorrow and Sunday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse are "among the hottest tickets in the nation." Louisville, Michigan, Northern Kentucky and Kentucky are among the teams close in proximity to Indianapolis that will be playing. Of the eight early-round host sites, Indianapolis has the "second-most expensive tickets on the secondary market, according to several national ticket brokers." Demand was "so strong on speculation Sunday afternoon, Circle City Tickets raised its prices even before the draw was announced." Two-thirds to three-fourths of all Circle City sales for this week’s games in Indianapolis are "coming from the state of Kentucky." Meanwhile, the median price for tickets to Session I tomorrow afternoon featuring Michigan-Oklahoma State and Louisville-Jackson State is $175, according to SeatGeek. The only early round host site that has higher priced tickets than Indianapolis is Greenville, where North Carolina, Duke and South Carolina are "fueling a feeding frenzy." In Indianapolis, ticket brokers said that there are "precious few seats selling for below $100 and fans can’t get into the club level for less than $200." The brokers said that lower level tickets are "starting for between $300 and $350 for Sessions I and II" (IBJ.com, 3/15).
GARDEN PARTY: On Long Island, Neil Best writes fans "interested in attending the East Regional semifinals and final at Madison Square Garden might find some (relative) bargains on the resale market." TicketIQ.com said that as of yesterday morning, "more than 7,000 tickets were available for the March 24 and 26 games, with the lowest price listed at $133." That is the second-cheapest of the four regional sites that weekend, and $19 less than the figure for the '14 regional games at MSG (NEWSDAY, 3/16).