2014 NCAA Final Four

2014 NCAA Final Four

Cowboys Stadium Takes Sweet 16 Success to Final Four

City estimates Sweet 16 games brought $50 million impact to region

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The City of Arlington is taking notes from hosting the Sweet 16 and preparing to host the Final Four in 2014. (Published Monday, Apr 1, 2013)

    March Madness has moved out of Arlington, but city leaders are ready to host next year's Final Four.

    Arlington city leaders said Friday's Sweet 16 round NCAA Tournament at Cowboys Stadium was a great tuneup for next year, when the city will host the Final Four.

    "We're used to having big events. We can't do them in our sleep, but almost," Mayor Robert Cluck joked.

    There are few bigger events than the NCAA Tournament.

    "We had great feedback from everybody that came in," said Decima Cooper, of the visitors bureau. "The people were fantastic. The hotels did great. You know, historically Easter weekend is a bit short, but this weekend blew it out of the water."

    The city estimates that hosting the two Sweet 16 games brought a $50 million impact to the region.

    Arlington hopes to make another splash next year with the Final Four.

    "I think it was a big help to us because we understood how to handle the crowds, how the layout of the stadium," Cluck said.

    "Our series of traffic cameras and billboards talking about traffic, how to get here, where to park did a great job," he said. "We need to make sure we keep that current."

    But the NCAA Tournament presents a unique set of challenges. Unlike other major sporting events, tourism officials, hotels and other businesses only learn the teams coming to town just a few days before the event, limiting their ability to market the city to potential tourists.

    "We don't know the teams that are coming in, but we tend to reach out to those cities very fast, and we reach out to the people in those cities very fast and tell them, 'Here's what you can expect,' whether it's through our social media or website or just giving information out any way we can," Cooper said.

    In addition to the 2014 Final Four, Cowboys Stadium is rumored to be the front-runner for the 2015 college football championship game, but an official announcement has not yet been made.