Atlanta Impresses With Final Four Hosting

By Whitney Norris

Atlanta Final Four Logo

Atlanta Final Four Logo

“Spectacular” was the word used by NCAA President Emmert when describing the Final Four Tournament in Atlanta this past weekend.

At a lunch on Monday, April 9th, he said to members of the Rotary Club of Atlanta, “I can’t thank this community event for putting on this big event. It’s been spectacular. I don’t want to jinx it.”

The city was honored to be the host of the 75th anniversary of the Final Four event. Many described the weekend’s events as having been an “Olympics-like experience.”

Emmert said after having lunch with Mayor Kasim Reed, “I had lunch with your mayor two days ago, and he was all over me…You have been spectacular hosting the Final Four. You have a compact downtown. I have no doubt we’ll be back, and sometime soon.”

The next three years of Final Four hosts have already been set with Dallas in 2014, Indianapolis in 2015, and Houston in 2016. The NCAA in the past has asked cities to bid in blocks of five years. In the bids entered in 2008, 10 cities bid for the five years between 2012 and 2016.

Atlanta has already promised to bid for the next bid cycle. However, the new stadium is expected to open mid-to-late summer of 2017. This could mean that the earliest year Atlanta could submit a bid for the Men’s Final Four would be 2019.

Either way, Emmert is happy with Atlanta and how they have hosted this year’s event. In an interview after his talk to the Rotary Club, he said, “I think the city has done an excellent job of managing the logistics, the hospitality and the security. It has made people feel welcome. I haven’t heard a single complaint.”

Emmert was also impressed by how close major hotels are to the Dome, and was pleased that the new stadium would be built in the same vicinity. He said, “You also have a physical compactness that a lot of cities don’t have.”

So what does this all mean for Atlanta?

Mayor Kasim Reed also praised Atlanta for it’s hosting. He says that he expects and economic impact of about $70 million. This is the same estimate the office released before the Final Four. There were minimal public safety issues, with about 60 arrests related to the event.

Reed also said the weekend should help the city with future bids for Final Four weekends, the Super Bowl, and college football’s new championship game.

The people behind the Bowl Championship Series were in town this week to see how the city held up under the strain of a big sports weekend.

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