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Volume 27 No. 5
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Mercedes-Benz Stadium Preparing Transformation To Host Final Four

This year's Final Four will take place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where an "elevated basketball court will be placed in the center of what is normally the stadium's football or soccer field," according to Tim Tucker of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. A center-hung scoreboard, weighing 140,000 pounds, will be "installed 100 feet above the court and 100 feet below the stadium's famous halo-shaped video board." An "elaborate temporary seating system, containing about 25,000 seats, will be installed over much of the existing lower bowl to improve basketball sight-lines and extend seats to the court." The NCAA uses "variations of the portable seating system at the Final Four each year" However, Atlanta Basketball Host Committee Exec Dir Carl Adkins said the geometry of M-B Stadium will require a larger "build-out" than previous Final Fours. The stadium is "expected to have a Final Four capacity of more than 80,000, which would put the event in position to break its all-time attendance record." NCAA Senior VP/Basketball Dan Gavitt said that they typically install a "temporary scoreboard above the court for Final Fours in NFL stadiums, but the organization gave 'serious consideration' to not doing so this year ... because of the halo-shaped video board built into the roof structure." Gavitt said that the temporary scoreboard will be the "same one that was used at last year's Final Four in Minneapolis" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 1/16).

PULL DOWN THE SHADES: In Atlanta, Eric Jackson noted there will be an NCAA-mandated "darkening solution" installed at M-B Stadium for the Final Four, which will "cover the building's floor-to-ceiling window wall." This is done to "avoid glares on the court (for broadcasting purposes) and obstructing the vision of players." Atlanta Sports Council President Dan Corso said that the solution will cost roughly $1.2M. Jackson noted that is over $3M "cheaper than the one used at last year's Final Four" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 1/15).