SAN ANTONIO – The 2021 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament is headed to the Alamo City in just over a week. However, the large event has not come without questions as to how organizers will be able to host it safely during the pandemic.
Jenny Carnes, with nonprofit organization San Antonio Sports, joined Leading SA on Sunday to break down the game plan.
“Well, teams start arriving on Tuesday and Wednesday. The NCAA will go live from the Marriott River Center (Monday) night at 6:00 p.m. for their selection Monday show and the bracket will be announced,” Carnes said. “Games start on March 21 for the first round. We will be playing games in two arenas here in the Alamodome, St. Mary’s University, UTSA Convocation Center and up I-35 at Texas State and the University of Texas at Austin.”
Carnes said that as the tournament progresses, all the games will be played in San Antonio and the four area venues. This means that 64 teams in 63 games will have the Alamo City as a backdrop for a potential championship run.
In 2018, the men’s tournament was also held in San Antonio, however, during the current health crisis, the event itself will look a lot different.
“We will not have the same events that we are used to in San Antonio,” Carnes said. “We are hosting a hybrid type of kids bounce event, presented by Buick. So, we will be distributing over 2,000 basketballs free and 2,000 free T-shirts to the community for different viewing locations and Brooks City Base, beginning on March 27.”
Even with the changes, fans can still watch the games live, though tickets are limited.
“First and second rounds is limited to just family members of the official team travel party. But when we get into Sweet Sixteen and Final Four rounds, there will be limited capacity at our venue here at the Alamodome,” Carnes said. “So, tickets will go on sale for the regional rounds next week, March 18 and the final four rounds on March 20 will be at about 17% attendance capacity.”
Those limited capacity models, Carnes said, follow guidance from city and Metro Health leaders.
Additionally, the tournament also offers an opportunity to help boost the local economy, Carnes told KSAT.
“This could not come at a better time. We are estimating about $27 million centered around this event, and that’s probably a very conservative estimate just based on the 64 teams coming here and the 35,000 rooms that they will occupy,” Carnes said.
Carnes said she is hoping additional family members and other supporters of the teams head to San Antonio to help support local businesses in the area during the tournament.