Sports

NRG Stadium Does A Quick Turnaround To Prepare For NCAA Final Four

The conversion includes a specially-made basketball court and up-close seating.

After the last bit of sawdust was swept up from the rodeo, crews quickly moved into NRG Stadium to set up a custom-made basketball court.

Bruce Haroldson is supervising the work. He’s from Connor Sports, the company the NCAA commissioned to build the court.  

“We call this a zipper floor,” says Haroldson. “In the fact that we start in the middle and move in two directions.”

The Final Four court is made from maple wood from environmentally-friendly sources. It weighs about 37 tons. Haroldson says they had to make it bigger than the usual basketball court because it’s raised on a platform.

“It gives them more cushion because it’s elevated,” explains Haroldson. “It’s not directly on the concrete. The only difference is being in an open area. Most of the players are used to being in a closed coliseum or an arena.”

And when you convert a football stadium into a basketball venue, there are things you have to do so fans will be close to the action. Leah Mastaglio is with NRG Park:

“The NCAA brings in their own temporary seating system.” Says Mastaglio. “And we work with our architects and our Fire Marshal’s office and things like that for approvals, to make sure the seating system is fit to go into NRG Stadium.”

So what happens to that specially-made floor after the Final Four? It’s offered for sale to the winning school at a cost of about $100,000.

The school can then install it in its own arena or they can cut in into pieces and sell them as mementos.

The Final Four will be played April 2-4.

Share

Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

More Information