NCAA leadership joins Edwards, Cantrell to tip off Road to Final Four

Published: Feb. 21, 2022 at 4:46 PM CST
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Information provided by Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation:

NEW ORLEANS - With just a few short weeks prior to March Madness, the New Orleans Local Organizing Committee (NOLOC), led by Tulane University, the University of New Orleans and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, hosted a “Tip Off” press conference in advance of the long-anticipated 2022 NCAA Men’s Final Four, set for April 2 and 4 at the Caesars Superdome. Saints radio personality and ASM New Orleans Communications Manager Mike Hoss emceed panel discussions with Governor Edwards and Mayor Cantrell, the leadership of the NOLOC, NCAA staff representatives Dan Gavitt and JoAn Scott, and the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee Chair, Tom Burnett, and Committee Member Keith Gill, Commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference.

“This year is extra special. When you think about what we, in Louisiana, and what this city and region have gone through these past few years, through it all the NCAA has stuck with us,” Gov. Edwards commented.

“We’re very excited to host the NCAA in our city. More than any other city and state in the country, it’s a reflection truly of the resiliency of New Orleans,” said Mayor Cantrell.

NCAA representatives and NOLOC Executive Director and Senior VP of Events at the Sports Foundation Jeff Rossi previewed the large lineup of ancillary events that are open to the public leading up to and during the semifinal and championship basketball games beginning Friday, April 1.

“This place is vibrant, and we’re excited to be able to make it even greater with the event coming here in April,” said Tom Burnett, Southland Conference Commissioner and Chair of the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee.

NCAA corporate sponsors will also have a significant presence during Men’s Final Four. Reese’s Final Four Friday will be free; there is Fan Fest presented by Capital One; and the March Madness Music Festival will all offer family-friendly activities for New Orleans locals and traveling fans alike. The full event schedule and additional information may be found here.

NCAA and LOC representatives also emphasized the Men’s Final Four community impact through initiatives like Read to the Final Four and the NCAA Legacy Project. Read to the Final Four, a literacy challenge for second and third graders in the Greater New Orleans Region, has nearly 13,000 local students participating in the reading competition. Since its start in late November, students have combined to read over 2.3 million minutes. The NCAA is also renovating the basketball court at Morris F.X. Jeff Sr. Park as a Legacy Project to foster goodwill and sportsmanship within the community.

“There’s so much more going on in the community beyond the games. There’s the NCAA Men’s Final Four Dribble presented by Buick, the Fan Fest at the convention center presented by Capitol One, and the Reese’s Free Final Four Friday where the teams practice,” said NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt. “Last, but certainly not least, the March Madness Music Series that will last all weekend.”

LOC Co-Chairs David Sherman and Paul Valteau discussed what has gone into the years of planning and preparation leading up to this historic event, with much of the prep work occurring while the city and state were battling a global pandemic and the devastation left by Hurricane Ida. Panelists agreed this event could not come at a better time for the City of New Orleans and State of Louisiana.

Officially awarded the tournament in 2016, the LOC – in coordination with the NCAA – has been working diligently to coordinate the event with the State of Louisiana and City of New Orleans, as well as hospitality community partners including New Orleans & Co., ASM Global, and the Morial Convention Center to ensure the success of this monumental event. The 2012 NCAA Men’s Final Four drew more than 75,000 fans to the city, who booked over 229,000 hotel room nights, generating a total economic impact of $168 million.

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