Sports

City Looks For Lessons From Final Four As It Prepares For Next Big Event

Houston officials say they’re pleased with the way things went during the NCAA Final Four this past weekend. They’re now studying how things can be improved for the 2017 Super Bowl.

Fans check out the interactive brackets outside NRG Stadium at the NCAA Final Four.
Fans check out the interactive brackets outside NRG Stadium at the NCAA Final Four.

We caught up with Doug Hall of the local Final Four organizing committee at Ellington Airport, as he watched a plane carrying the champion Villanova Wildcats depart for home.  

An estimated 75,000 people were in town for the games. And Hall says he’s getting lots of compliments from both the teams and their fans.  

“The thing I heard most was that the vibe and the energy in downtown Houston was just awesome,” adds Hall. “You know, we wanted to make it feel like a big event in our city and Houstonians responded with all the community events.”

The NCAA Final Four weekend also provided opportunities for local residents to get involved, like a fanfest at the George R. Brown Convention Center and concerts at Discovery Green.

But they had to turn away people at one of those concerts because the crowds were just too big.

A.J. Mistretta is with the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau. He says that’s one of the issues they’re looking at for the next big event, which is expected to bring even more people downtown.

“A similar footprint in terms of the visitor experience in and around downtown and Discovery Green, the George R. Brown, is what we’re looking at for Super Bowl,” says Mistretta. “And so there definitely could be some things that we can learn from Final Four.”    

It’s estimated the Final Four pumped about $150 million in direct spending into Houston’s economy.

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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...

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