Men's Final Four Garners SportsTravel Award
Nov. 2, 2009
The 2009 Men’s Final Four took top honors in the category of the Best Collegiate Sports Event Series or Circuit for 2009 in judging conducted by SportsTravel magazine.
The award was announced at the Travel, Events And Management in Sports Conference and Exposition which was held last month in New Orleans. TEAMS is the world's largest gathering of event organizers and travel planners from the sports industry.
The SportsTravel Award winners were nominated and voted upon by readers of the magazine.
To be eligible, events had to occur between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2009.
Criteria for nomination and voting included:
· Superior organization of and attendance at the event;
· The event provided a superior experience for competitors and/or spectators;
· The event's host city or venue served to enhance the event.
The 2009 Men’s Final Four was held at Ford Field in Detroit. A new seating configuration, where a raised court was placed in the middle of the domed stadium, was used for the event for the first time.
Additionally, the new configuration included courtside seating for students of the four institutions that qualified for the Men’s Final Four. Nearly 2,000 students had courtside end zone seats that cost less than $7 per game.
The 2009 Men’s Final Four featured the largest allocation of general public tickets in the event’s history, with nearly 24,000 tickets being made available in the drawing.
The national semifinals drew a Final Four-record crowd of 72,456 on April 4, and that attendance mark was topped two nights later when 72,922 watched North Carolina defeat Michigan State 89-72 in the finals of the championship. The Spartans were playing about 90 miles from their campus.
The previous record attendance for the Men’s Final Four occurred in 1987 when 64,959 watched Indiana edge Syracuse 74-73.
Attendance at various ancillary events was strong; a record 1,772 participants took part in the 5K Run/Walk on April 4; nearly 30,000 fans attended Final Four Friday; and around 40,000 fans attended the AT&T Block Party/Big Dance on April 3.