North Texas Puts Its Best Foot Forward

Posted on April 7th, by Rob Scichili in college. No Comments

Dallas (excuse me, North Texas) would never be listed as one of the best college basketball towns in America. Save a great season by SMU this season, the tradition of collegiate interest in Dallas-Ft. Worth has been, well, non-existent.

NCAA-2014-north-texas-final-fourWhat we are, though, is one of the top cities in the world when it comes to mixing sports, culture, entertainment and show. And this Final Four weekend has been no different.

Kudos, North Texas. That was awesome. And we haven’t even gotten to the championship basketball game yet.

The actual games are great, but they aren’t what has really made the weekend. The reason – because the bulk of North Texas residents won’t set foot in AT&T Stadium to see any of the games. Yet thousands upon thousands have been able to participate in the Final Four this weekend with all of the events going on around town.

1977267_10152405202019047_192889818_nThe March Madness Music Festival was fantastic. There was something for everyone – Jack Ingram, Eli Young Band, Jason Aldean, LLCool J, The Killers, Pat Green, Fun., and of course – the Boss on Sunday night. And the cost to get in – zero.

Are you kidding me? Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. For free.

Top all of that with a fantastic location – Reunion Park where Reunion Arena once stood. The atmosphere was fantastic and the view was even better, with the Omni Hotel, Reunion Tower and downtown as the backdrop. Oh, and mix in a ferris wheel along with some interactive games and a basketball court with trick shot artists.

Pretty darn cool.


The Boss

The weather didn’t seem to want to cooperate; Sunday was chilly and wet, but someone up there must like us, as the rain tapered off right as Springsteen took the stage. I would have loved to have seen what the crowd would have looked like with good weather. Regardless, there were about 28,000 there to hear Glory Days and Born to Run, among others, during a three-hour set.

The pictures, sights and sounds were seen around the nation, as media, both still and video, featured the scene for their audience, making Dallas look like the place to be (and it was).

Bracket Town was a big hit, held in the Kay Baily Hutchison Convention Center. Families could enjoy a plethora of interactive games, activities and fun at an affordable price, featuring every NCAA sport. Autograph sessions were offered featuring the likes of Alonzo Mourning, Clyde Drexler, Dick Vitale, and other basketball icons.

The Final Four Dribble on (a cold wet) Sunday morning featured 2,892 kids coming down to Dallas City Hall and meeting David Robinson and Rolando Blackman, getting some basketball pointers, and then checking out Bracket Town.

And then there was the actual basketball games. AT&T Stadium did not disappoint on Saturday for the semi-final games. The atmosphere was fantastic and the Final Four set a new attendance record with 79,444.

What’s left? How about a great final with UCONN and Kentucky. They may be middle-of-the-road seeds in the tourney, but these are traditional powers who are both playing some fantastic ball right now.

Here’s to a great final game to top off a great weekend of events. Kudos, North Texas – you pulled it off.

The Reverse Barometer pick – UCONN continues its magical run. Now my advice would be to place your money on Kentucky with a track record like mine.

Rob Scichili

Rob Scichili (shick-lee) has worked in professional sports for over 24 years in PR and communications, including time with the Dallas Stars, Anaheim Ducks,, Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks. A journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he is co-owner and editor at ScoreboardTx, principal at Shick Communications and VP at Franchise Sports & Entertainment while serving on the board of the Mike Modano Foundation.

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