One of the nation’s most prominent and exciting sporting events hits Houston April 2–4 at NRG Stadium, returning to Houston for its second time in a six-year span and for the third time in the city’s history (1971: Astrodome; 2011: NRG Stadium). It’s a highly publicized and sought after event the city is ecstatic to host, for many reasons. Whether you’re into basketball or your alma mater makes the Big Dance, you’ll want to get in on all the action.
The Final Four is expected to bring 70,000 out-of-town visitors and approximately $150,000,000 in direct spend to Houston. Just a few reasons the organizing committee is pulling out all the stops to make sure it’s a hit.
“The Final Four is one of the most exciting events a city can host. Houston was a great host in 2011, and we know we’ll be an even greater host in 2016, as our city has that much more to offer this time around. March Madness will culminate here, and all eyes will be on our city. We’ll be ready, and we’re looking forward to showing the world what a great place Houston is,” says Doug Hall, President and CEO of the 2016 NCAA Men’s Final Four Local Organizing Committee.
The big weekend isn’t all about basketball either. Be sure to check out the March Madness Music Festival, which is a FREE concert series that takes place Friday, Saturday and Sunday and features both local and national acts. Past artists include Fergie, Bruce Springsteen, Rihanna, The Zac Brown Band, Imagine Dragons, Kings of Leon and Kenny Chesney, just to name a few. Upcoming acts for 2016: TBD.
Fan Fest is also a great interactive sports “extravaganza” perfect for families, complete with basketball exhibitions and fan games, handson championship experiences, youth clinics and more. A Kids Zone is filled with interactive games, a 3v3 tournament and special appearances with former NCAA players and coaches as well as other sports personalities. Cost: Adults – $10, Kids 12 and under – FREE.
Many sports fans don’t know about the huge community component that comes with Final Four hosting duties, like Read to the Final Four where third graders at 68 HISD schools will participate in a bracket competition literacy program, and Super Four Course, where students from University of Houston gain behind-the-scenes training and access, working closely with staff from the NCAA and Houston Super Bowl Host Committee.