If you look at the arenas that have hosted the previous ten Final Fours or so, your answer is suredly no as massive NFL stadiums and domes have played host to the three biggest games in college hoops. But, reports are out that the NCAA is considering a surprising move back to basketball size arenas. If this happens, Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center has to be atop of the list.
NCAA executive vice president Mark Lewis spoke about why they may be interested in the move, “It’s something we would want to explore. What’s the best place to play a basketball game? Is it harder to play in a dome? We’ve got to do what’s right for the game of basketball. I have a sports background but I’m not a basketball guy, so the answer should be driven by what’s the best experience for the student-athletes.”
If they decide to make the switch it won’t happen until at least 2017 as domes have the next four years locked up with Atlanta in 2013, Arlington in 2014, Indy in 2015, and Houston in 2016. A basketball arena has not hosted the Final Four since New Jersey hosted the 1996 Final Four at the Meadowlands.
But, when you look at 24,000 people compared to 80,000 people in an arena, that is a lot of lost revenue. The NCAA can talk all they want about improving the venue for both fans and the players, but I just don’t see them making the switch with nearly 60,000 less tickets to sell. If they did make the switch, you would have to imagine that the ticket prices would take an astronimical jump.
Still, this discussion at least gives Louisville hope that they could host a Final Four again. Remember, Freedom Hall hosted six Final Fours from 1958 to 1969. And you can’t argue with the tradition of college basketball in the state of Kentucky and the KFC Yum! Center is as nice as arenas get when it comes to hosting basketball.
If the NCAA decides to make the move you have to like Louisville’s chances, I just don’t see them foregoing all of that revenue and making the move.
Filed Under: Basketball
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