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Hotels, restaurant operators prep for record Final Four crowd

Excerpt

The following is from the March 28, 2014, edition of The Dallas Morning News. Michael Lysko, director of the Sport Management Program at SMU, provided expertise for this story.

March 28, 2014

By KAREN ROBINSON-JACOBS
The Dallas Morning News

When the NCAA Final Four returns to North Texas for the first time in decades — bringing what’s expected to be a record crowd — there will be more winners than the athletes on the court.

More than 85,000 fans are expected to pour into AT&T Stadium for the April college basketball championship. That would top the current Final Four record by about 10,000.

Direct spending is estimated to exceed $140 million in Dallas and Arlington as more than 80 percent of the hotel rooms in the two cities fill with out-of-state visitors and as restaurateurs savor a double-digit increase in business.

There will be some marked differences between the Final Four and previous megawatt sporting events held here — including fewer celebrity parties, more pedestrians and less booze.

Still, event backers say the college hoops showdown will bring an influx of cash and put the region in position to score again during next year’s college football playoff.

“These schools that make it to the Final Four have large and very engaged fan bases with significant … discretionary spending ability,” said Michael Lysko, director of the Sport Management Program at Southern Methodist University. “These institutions bring a fairly fervent fan base to the city.”

Read the full story.

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