SAN ANTONIO - It has been 10 years since San Antonio hosted the NCAA Men’s Final Four, which is why this year, the community is pumped about the new changes.
Mary Ullmann Japhet, with San Antonio Sports, said the organization made a significant investment in this event.
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“It is well worth it,” Japhet said. “The projected economic impact is at $185 million in direct visitor spending over the weekend. We are looking at around 93,000 visitors coming to San Antonio, so it is immeasurable to talk about the impact this event will have because the whole world and the sports world is talking about the road to San Antonio.”
This is San Antonio’s fourth time hosting March Madness. The last time was in 2008.
“The event has grown enormously and so has the city,” Japhet said. “We've got a new remodeled airport, the Alamodome has significant renovations, we got a new convention center. I think the fans who came in '08 will look around and go, ‘Wow, San Antonio is really different!’”
In 2008, the Alamodome was only able to hold up to 43,000 seats due to the half-arena configuration.
“This year, we have the full Alamodome, where we plan to seat 70,000 people,” Japhet said. “We will have enough room to where we are building in an extra 22,000 seats temporarily.”
With several festivities taking place throughout the March Madness weekend, there are a few guidelines to follow. One, in particular, is the clear-bag policy.
“The clear bags are important,” Japhet said. “Everyone knows this is in place. At every Final Four event, these are required. Even women who wear purses will only be able to bring in a very small purse, but the clear bags are non-negotiable for all of the events. You will be turned away.”
Japhet said visitors can get a clear bag since they will be distributed throughout the city at different locations.
“We will have 114,000 clear bags distributed at hotels and at various kiosks,” Japhet said. “We also have street teams that will be walking around with them, giving them away. They will also be available at the Alamodome, and all of them are free of charge.”
Other tips you need to know before you go to the events can be found on the Final Four website.
“I really want to say thank you to the 3,000 volunteers who stepped up to help out,” Japhet said. “It just shows how important the team effort is for events like this.”
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