Indy officials pass NCAA Final Four ball to Houston
By Matt Anderson
IU Final Four News Bureau
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard handed the official NCAA Final Four game ball to Houston Mayor Annise Parker at the Marriott in downtown Indianapolis Tuesday morning to officially mark the end of the Final Four weekend in Indianapolis.
The mayors and members of the NCAA held a final press conference to wrap up what was called, “An electrifying series of events,” by Ballard. A handful of media members were in attendance.
The weekend included events such as Bracket Town, the Big Dance Concert Series and Final Four Friday to go along with the games on Saturday and Monday.
The Final Four in Indianapolis brought in the second-highest number of attendants in Final Four history in both the National Semifinal games (71,298) and overall Final Four attendance (142,228).
The National Championship game between Duke and Butler also reached the second-highest number in attendance with 70,930. The Michigan State, North Carolina game in Detroit last year still holds the record with 72,922 at Ford Field.
In addition, 1,109 media members were credentialed for the biggest event in Lucas Oil Stadium’s short lifespan; the venue opened in 2008.
“It was a great night; it was a great week for the city of Indianapolis, and I think a great night for the nation, as we all saw,” Ballard said.
Speakers at the press conference also included the chairman of Houston’s organizing committee for the 2011 Final Four, Robert Beauchamp; NCAA Senior Vice President Greg Shaheen and Indiana Sports Corporation President Susan Williams.
Parker, who was on her first visit to Indianapolis, along with Beauchamp recognized Indianapolis for a job well done in handling the Final Four.
The two learned plenty from the city and with hosting regional action in this years tournament, they feel more than ready to bring the Final Four to Houston.
Yet, Houston can only hope for a game like the one Duke and Butler gave last night, as many critics have called it one of the best in the history of NCAA championship games.
“It will be hard to top the game last night, “Parker said. “It was just a phenomenal experience.”
Ballard is confident that Houston is, “in for a great ride.”
The festivities downtown brought in huge numbers for Indianapolis. Bracket Town saw 52,930 fans over five days at the Indiana Convention Center, the Big Dance Concert Series brought in approximately 130,000 over its three-day span and Final Four Friday estimated 40,000-45,000 for the teams open practices and the Reese’s College All-Star Game.
Indianapolis is next getting prepared for the 2011 Women’s Final Four and the 2012 Super Bowl. In 2015, the city will again host the Men’s Final Four.