ATLANTA – (April 9, 2013)The Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) campus hosted the 75th NCAA Men’s Final Four Basketball Championship and related activities over the course of the last four days.
The Congress Center specifically hosted Bracket Town, an interactive sports fan fest, and many other events including private parties, the media hub for the Final Four, the National Association of Basketball Coaches Convention, the staff check-in area, a sports bar and the Dome Dribble on International Plaza, an opportunity for thousands of kids to dribble their way through Final Four activities. At the convention center’s sister facilities, Centennial Olympic Park hosted The Big Dance, a three-day concert series, and the Georgia Dome hosted the two semifinals and the championship game. Saturday’s semifinal games broke the venue’s all-time basketball attendance record with 75,350 fans, which was previously set in 1998 when the Hawks hosted the Chicago Bulls during Michael Jordan’s final season. Neighboring facility, Philips Arena hosted the Division II and III championship games this weekend. All activities took place within a short three block area along Andrew Young International Blvd in downtown Atlanta.
“Final Four weekend was a perfect showcase of our campus’ layout,” said Georgia World Congress Center General Manager Mark Zimmerman. “It is vast enough that we simultaneously welcomed thousands of fans to Bracket Town and many other auxiliary events, yet compact enough that it only took five minutes to walk from Bracket Town to The Big Dance at Centennial Olympic Park, over to the Division II and III championship games at Philips Arena or to the championship at the Dome. You can’t beat it for an easily walkable fan experience.”
Bracket Town, the cornerstone event at the 3.9 million square-foot convention center, offered an affordable, family-friendly, indoor interactive event featuring 300,000 square feet of activities related to all NCAA sports, including basketball, hockey and lacrosse. Fans had the opportunity to meet legendary coaches and former college stars at autograph sessions, to learn new skills during daily youth clinics and to participate in three on three basketball tournaments. Bracket Town included a regulation size basketball court with seating for 2,400, and appearances were made by the Harlem Globetrotters, Cody Simpson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
“Our complex is one of only a handful of campuses in the world that can boast both the best-in-class facilities and the connectivity to the downtown hotel district that allows fans of the Men’s Final Four to create their own walkable community in the middle of downtown Atlanta,” said Kevin Duvall, chief operating officer of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority.
The 200-acre Georgia World Congress Center campus also hosted the NCAA Men’s Final Four in 2002 and 2007.