Feb 26, 2024 - News

How Glendale is preparing for the Final Four

tens of thousands of people in a basketball stadium with a large scoreboard hanging in the middle.

A scene from the 2017 Final Four in Glendale. Photo: Lance King/Getty Images

Glendale is beginning its final preparations for the Final Four, and events at State Farm Stadium will be on hiatus for nearly a month in the meantime.

State of play: Work recently began on two major projects for the big dance — a hanging scoreboard in the middle of the arena and temporary stands for fans, city manager Kevin Phelps tells Axios Phoenix.

  • Mecum Auctions' car auction from March 5 to 9 will be the stadium's last event until Final Four festivities begin April 5.

Zoom in: Preparations are in some ways more intensive than last year's Super Bowl. The city has projected it will host more than double the number of people for the Final Four than the NFL championship game.

  • While the Super Bowl is a one-day event, Final Four fans will be inside the stadium for multiple days.
  • That means the city has to staff up more for transportation and public safety.

Yes, but: Many fans will also be drawn to Final Four Fest and other events in downtown Phoenix.

The big picture: The Final Four event is largely the same as the last time Glendale hosted it in 2017, but the city itself has changed in ways that make it a more ideal location.

  • Phelps estimates Glendale has nearly double the number of hotel rooms within walking distance of the stadium this year.
  • There are more entertainment options nearby, too, including Tiger Woods' PopStroke mini-golf facility and Chicken N Pickle.

What we're watching: Cinderellas are fun, but Final Four hosts always want to see big-name teams that'll create bigger demand, Phelps says.

  • The Arizona Wildcats are a top-10 team and have a legitimate shot at the Final Four, which he expects would generate a huge turnout from the local fan base.
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