The Final Four is the largest collegiate championship that the Pepsi Center's limited capacity can hold. It impacts local food, lodging, transportation, ticket sales and other businesses in the metro area during a slower time of year, economically speaking.
"We bid on this in 2008 and won it in November 2008, so we've really spent the last three years learning from the other cities," Denver Sports interim president Sue Baldwin said. "We've been to St. Louis, San Antonio and Indianapolis last year to see how each city puts the whole thing together. It's a pretty exhaustive process and the NCAA is a really 'buttoned-up' organized group, so you have a lot of help along the way."
The Final Four, which opens Friday, has several pre-tournament festivities that will also bring in revenue.
"[The NCAA] brings a whole series of free events for the city that everybody can be involved in, from Tourney Town, which is the fan fest at the Convention Center, to the Super Saturday event at the Pepsi Center that is free," Baldwin said. "Fans can go and get autographs from all four teams [and] watch the open practices, which is pretty cool. There's the collegiate pageantry, the battle of the bands and then the high school All-American game. On Sunday, we'll have what is called 'the dribble,' and [there will be] up to 2,500 kids dribbling down 14th Street from Civic Center Park to the Convention Center that leads to the official NCAA pep rally, so there's just a lot that people can get involved in. The dribble is something you have to sign up for, and there are still spots available."
The Final Four runs April 1 through 3. There are still some tickets available at http://www.denversports.org/.
Another big women's sporting event being held at the Convention Center is the annual Colorado Crossroads volleyball tournament - one of nine national events that qualify teams for the USA Junior national - will draw 11,000 volleyball players and 33,000 spectators.
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