Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tourney to Generate over $1 Million for OKC

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tourney to Generate over $1 Million for OKC

Article excerpt

The Myriad Convention Center and most Oklahoma City hotels are expected to be full throughout the weekend.

The event is the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Midwest sub-regional basketball tournament. It is only the second time a National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament has been in Oklahoma City.

It all begins with an open day of one-hour practice sessions for the teams Thursday, the only time spectators unable to get tickets may attend free. Then, the tournament games begin at 11:25 a.m. Friday, and finals of the tournament begin at 1:25 p.m. Sunday.

All 13,268 seats available in the Myriad have either been sold or reserved for participating teams since March 31, 1993, said Stanley Draper Jr., executive secretary of the All Sports Association, which is coordinating the event with the University of Oklahoma, host university for the tournament.

"The tournament is expected to bring 3,000 to 4,000 out-of-state people to Oklahoma City for the weekend and have more than $1 million economic impact on the community before the final game ends Sunday. This means a lot to all of the hotels that will be involved," Draper said.

"We've had to send back well over $100,000 in ticket orders. Boy, that hurt. I would say that since that time (March 1993) there hasn't been a day that we haven't received five to 10 calls for tickets from people all over the United States.

"No one dreamed, in their wildest imagination, that there would be such a switch from the way it was in 1977 when we had the Midwest Regional, when Marquette went on to win the final four after winning here in Oklahoma City. About half of the seats were empty _ unsold.

"You used to see some empty seats at some of the regionals, but the seats were sold. Some of the teams may have been beaten, so the fans didn't come to that particular session," he said.

That is less likely to happen now, due to changes in the procedure of handling tickets, Draper said.

"The schools only get tickets for the sessions in which they compete. For instance, OSU will compete in the night session, so they don't get an opportunity to buy any tickets for the afternoon session. If they win, then they will get 300 more tickets for the Sunday session. …

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