The NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four brings in over 90 percent of the organization’s revenue, according to Dan Gavitt, vice president of Men’s Basketball Championships. He explained on Monday night that host cities are selected after considering which ones are equipped for the large-scale events.
Gavitt and organizers of the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four, which will be held in Phoenix, discussed the tournament’s projected impacts on the Valley, the selection process and how sports media influences audiences during a panel at the Walter Cronkite School.
Cities under consideration for hosting must have a venue that holds at least 60,000 people, enough hotels and a large airport.
According to Mark Hollis, NCAA Men’s Basketball committee chair and athletics director at Michigan State University, a city is chosen if it has the “confidence.”
“Do you have the confidence that the city can deliver?” Hollis asked the audience. “And that comes from looking in somebody’s eyes and really getting the sense that … confidence is going to be delivered.”
One of NCAA’s top priorities will be the student experience. The organizers have selected the locations and scheduled the games with student accessibility in mind.
“The NCAA, unlike other organizations, really shepherded this event because it is the amateur. It is all about the student athlete and their experience,” said Dawn Rogers, the executive director and CEO of the Phoenix Final Four. “I look at it as a student athlete-centered event … a classroom for our students.”
Rogers will work with ASU’s College of Nursing on how to use the Final Four platform to educate the community on obesity. The Cronkite School will also be running press and social media interactions with fans, Rogers said.
JoAn Scott, NCAA managing director for the Division 1 Men’s Basketball Championship, said they plan to have a social media hub run by students to “reply to people’s questions, push messaging, follow trends … and see what people are saying about the Final Four.”
Scott said the tournament will rely heavily on student volunteers. Students will have the opportunity to learn more about sports journalism while the NCAA hopes to learn from students’ feedback and ideas, she said.
“We want you to walk away (having) a product that you produced for something that you are working toward your career,” Rogers said.
Rogers plans for the tournament weekend to include a concert series for fans and community members.
“You don’t have to be a basketball fan to enjoy this event,” Rogers said.
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