Last weekend, I attended my 10th NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four in Houston, TX. Here are some quick observations:
- Houston is not a great site for the Final Four. It is very spread out, forcing attendees to rely heavily on cab rides to get around town. Further, the cab drivers we had were very unfamiliar with the city, and at least 3 times I had to search my smartphone for the address, and even had to enter one address into the cab driver's GPS. That did not convey a positive view of the city. Further, the sprawl of Houston made for less of a Final Four feel. When you are in San Antonio or Indianapolis, the event is much more compact and you see fans everywhere. Thus, it creates much more buzz and excitement for the event. Rotate the event in San Antonio, Indianapolis and New Orleans and be done with it.
- The stature of the Final Four attracts a number of current and former athletes. Until you see professional athletes up close, you never get a sense of how different they are. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? Tall. Really tall. Really, really tall. Charles Barkley? Huge - both vertically and horizontally. Imagine if you could easily identify talent as easily as you could choose height. Then again, Doug Flutie looks like a weekend softball player.