Thanks to the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau for providing us with some interesting facts as Houston prepares to host the Final Four.
2011 NCAA Final Four expected to drop $100M+ in Houston April 2-4
By the Numbers
- Roughly 77,000 fans are expected to attend one or more of the Final Four games; approximately 70,000 of these will be visitors to Houston
- The GHCVB estimates direct spending related to Final Four will top $100 million. This figure represents only attendee spending and is NOT an overall economic impact estimate. Airline tickets, game tickets, shopping and other fan expenses are not included in this figure, nor is temporary employment surrounding the event.
- Hotel room block consists of 45,000 rooms, primarily in the Downtown and Galleria areas
- 12 area restaurants are designated as official fan gathering zones
- 4 fan zones include Downtown/Midtown, Washington Avenue, Uptown/Galleria and Reliant Stadium (Reliant Zone open to ticket holders only)
The NCAA Final Four is the annual championship matchup for college basketball. Sixty eight teams qualify for the tournament. Teams competing in the Final Four are those that made it through regional semifinals (the Sweet Sixteen) and regional finals (the Elite Eight).
Houston last hosted the Final Four in 1971, making this the 40th anniversary of the tournament in the Bayou City. Houston will host the Final Four again in 2016.
Fans looking for hotel rooms or ticket packages should visit www.fanexperiences.com. On March 25, just before the four teams are determined, hotels in the Final Four room block that have rooms available will be posted at www.VisitHoustonTexas.com.
Final Four Firsts in Houston
- The 2011 Final Four marks the first time local restaurants have participated in official tournament events. Thirty-two restaurants competed to be one of four vendors selling their dishes at The Big Dance. Max’s Wine Dive, the Original Ninfa’s, The Tasting Room and the House of Blues were awarded places at the festival, which is expecting more than 25,000 people a day to downtown’s Discovery Green. Kenny Chesney and The Kings of Leon are among the headliners at the Big Dance.
*Tailgating will be allowed at the tournament for the first time with the introduction of the Tip-off Tailgate Party presented by Infiniti, a festival-like gathering outside Reliant Stadium prior to the game where fans can purchase BBQ and hear live music. It’s a fitting first for Houston, which was named one of the top 10 tailgating cities in the nation by Forbes magazine. (note: the Tip-off is open to ticketholders only).
This year’s Final Four will be the largest ever based on the number of tickets sold. The stadium-in-the-round set-up the NCAA developed in recent years will allow more fans to see the actual games. Meanwhile official events such as The Big Dance at Discovery Green, Bracket Town inside the George R. Brown Convention Center and four official fan zones across the city will bring large numbers of visitors and locals into the action.
Quotes from Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Greg Ortale:
“The potential for Houston is significant. We’re bringing in 70,000 people who probably have not been here recently. This is a valuable opportunity for us to show off the changes to our city and promote who we are.”
“People will be in town for four days and they will be looking for things to do when they’re not at the games. So they’re going to be shopping, dining, going to some of our local attractions and generally enjoying Houston.”
“In the last three years, the NCAA has made a concerted effort to really reach out to the community of the host cities. We saw it in Detroit in 2009 and in Indianapolis in 2010. Here in Houston, they are building or refurbishing 68 basketball courts around town as a way of giving back. And for locals who can’t get into the actual games, the Big Dance and Bracket Town are a way for everyone to be part of the experience. The NCAA wants to make this a celebration for the entire community.”
“The fact that we have already been awarded the 2016 Final Four before we’ve even hosted the 2011 tournament speaks to the confidence organizers have in Houston to produce a major sporting event and deliver a quality experience.”
Click the link for additional information on official Final Four events, fan zones and more. http://www.visithoustontexas.com/visitors/ncaa_final_four_2011/schedule