Bye-Bye Rodeo, Hello NCAA
by: Bill Stamps, March 22, 2011 10:03:00 pm
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The NCAA basketball tournament is down to the Sweet Sixteen and in less than two weeks, the Final Four will be played right here in Houston. That doesn't give the people at Reliant Stadium much time to get ready. As Bill Stamps reports — they're still cleaning up from the rodeo.
Everywhere you walk at Reliant Park, you hear that beeping sound of forklifts going back and forth hauling something in and out of the stadium.
The rodeo just ended and now they have to get ready for one of the biggest sporting events in America — the NCAA’s Final Four. Sounds like a lot of pressure, but Reliant Park General Manager Mark Miller says they’ve done big events before.
"You never say when you’re doing one of these, 'its business as usual', but it’s what we do."
You’d never know by watching the game, but the teams will actually be playing basketball on a big stage. Instead of putting the court on the ground, it will be a few feet in the air to bring the action closer to fans.
"It’s the same thing as we did last year for the regional it just elevates the court, gets the sight line better for all the fans and then the seating system is pretty much the same as we did last year."
Crews got a practice run when the Sweet Sixteen Regionals were held in Houston. Doug Hall helped bring the tournament to town and says there a big difference between the Sweet Sixteen and the Final Four.
"That’s more of a local event. Almost everyone here is local other than the teams themselves, but for the Final Four, probably only ten thousand Houstonians that will have tickets. There’s another sixty to eighty thousand that will be coming from out of town it’s a different feel."
Reliant Stadium is expected to be ready for basketball by Thursday. The games begin April 2nd.