April 4, 2009

 

NCAA RELEASE

DETROIT---National semifinal games at Ford Field drew 72,456 fans, establishing a new Final Four attendance record. Led by a large contingent of Michigan State fans who saw the Spartans play 92 miles from campus, Saturday’s attendance broke the previous record of 64,959 fans who saw Indiana edge Syracuse in the 1987 national championship game at New Orleans’ Superdome.

The games were played in front of a custom “in-the-round” seating system that allowed for a greater number of quality seats for fans and better views of a court.

The new configuration included courtside seating for students of the four institutions. Nearly 2,000 students had courtside end zone seats that cost less than $7 per game.

The 2009 featured the largest allocation of general public tickets in the event’s history, with nearly 24,000 tickets being made available in the drawing for this year’s event.

Michigan State defeated Connecticut in the first semifinal, while North Carolina beat Villanova in the second, setting up Monday’s national championship game, which will tip at 9:21 p.m. EST.

The Final Four is estimated to have a $30-50 million impact on the city of Detroit, in addition to a number of community outreach initiatives tied to hosting the NCAA Championship. Those include a food recovery program, a newly-created legacy program that established early learning and literacy centers in the community, donations of thousands of uniforms and shoes, a book drive and the donation of a refurbished basketball court at a local YMCA. For more information on these events and additional activities scheduled for Sunday and Monday, visit www.ncaa.com/finalfour.

Attendance has been strong at various ancillary events, with a record 1,772 participants in the 5K Run/Walk Saturday morning, 11,500 attendees at the initial hours of Hoop City, nearly 30,000 fans at Final Four Friday, and approximately 40,000 fans at Friday’s AT&T Block Party/Big Dance.