Kentucky Wins NCAA Men’s Basketball Crown in New Orleans

For the fifth time in history, the city of New Orleans served as the site for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four. This year’s event featured powerhouse basketball programs Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville and Ohio State with Kentucky holding off Kansas to win the national title. The Allstate Sugar Bowl is one of the co-hosts for the event.

In addition to the top-notch basketball action, there were a host of Final Four events that offered fun to the whole family. Bracket Town is the annual fan festival held in conjunction with the Final Four, this year’s was held at the Convention Center and welcomed more than 43,000 fans. The Big Dance concert series was a string of free concerts at Woldenerg Park on the riverfront. Headlining bands this year were KISS (Friday night), the Black Keys (Saturday afternoon) and Jimmy Buffet (Sunday evening) and the event saw approximately 130,000 fans.

The previous four Final Fours in New Orleans were all among the most memorable in the event’s grand history. In 1982, Dean Smith captured his first National Championship as a freshman named Michael Jordan buried the game-winning shot to upend Georgetown. In 1987, it was Bobby Knight and Indiana defeating Syracuse on a baseline jumper by Keith Smart. Smith was back again in 1993, as his North Carolina team defeated the Fab Five from Michigan. And in 2003, Jim Boeheim made up for his 1987 loss as freshman Carmelo Anthony led Syracuse to a win over Kansas.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl has a rich history with the sport of basketball, as well as football. Dating back as far as 1936, the Sugar Bowl has sponsored basketball events in conjunction with the annual football classic. In addition, the Bowl has been a sponsor for multiple local events in the sport.

Sugar Bowl Basketball History

Following this year’s Final Four in New Orleans, Atlanta will host 2013, Dallas will host 2014, Indianapolis will host 2015 and Houston collected the 2016 event.

New Orleans will host the 2013 NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four as well.

Here are some basic facts on this year’s Final Four in New Orleans:

2011 NCAA Men’s Final Four Games – Attendance

  • 73,361 -Second-highest attended session in NCAA Tournament history (record 75,421 in Houston – 2011)
  • 70,913 – Third-highest attended National Championship Game (record 72,922 in Detroit – 2009)
  • 144,274 – Third-highest total Final Four attendance (record 145,797 in Houston – 2011)

2011 NCAA Men’s Final Four Media
1,566 media members were credentialed for the 2012 NCAA Men’s Final Four, the most ever.

TV Ratings: CBS Sports and Turner Sports’ coverage of the 2012 Final Four on Saturday, March 31 earned an average fast national household rating/share of 9.0/17, which is the highest rated Final Four since 2005. The rating is up 1 percent from last year’s 8.9/17.

International: For the second time in tournament history, all 67 games were broadcast nationally through the NCAA’s new agreement with Turner Sports and CBS.  Beyond the national reach, games were broadcast internationally via ESPN International to more than 200 countries across the globe. These include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea and Spain.

In addition to its national and global telecast and online availability via March Madness Live, the 2012 NCAA Men’s Final Four had the potential to be viewed by approximately one million U.S. Armed Forces, Department of Defense civilian employees and their families stationed overseas and aboard 140 US Navy ships at sea via the American Armed Forces Radio Network.

2012 NCAA Men’s Final Four® Fan Events:
Bracket Town Refreshed by Coca-Cola Zero – More than 43,000 fans and community members attended the event over four days at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

The Big Dance Concert Series – Approximately 130,000 fans attended the series over three days. (The Big Dance attendance takes into account crowd turnover throughout the day and evening on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.)

Final Four Friday® – More than 11,300 fans attended the four teams’ open practices and the Reese’s College All-Star Game.

Final Four Dribble® presented by Lowes Senior Class Award – More than 2,300 youth participants, along with additional parents, guardians, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, dribbled from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to Bracket Town at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on Sunday, April 1.

Tip-Off Tailgate presented by Infiniti® – More than 26,000 college hoops fans attended pre-game festivities outside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome including live music, food and beverages.

Community Outreach Activities:
Volunteer Participation – More than 2,500 volunteers were utilized for the 2012 NCAA Men’s Final Four, giving over 34,00 hours of service.

Samaritan’s Feet, NABC and Feed the Hungry Distributions – 2,012 pairs of shoes and 2,012 boxes of food were distributed among four locations. Shoes were provided by the NCAA, the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ and Samaritan’s Feet. Meals were provided by the NCAA and Feed the Hungry.

NCAA Four Courts in Four Days – The NCAA and Tulane University teamed up to complete four community projects in four days. Projects included:

o    New playground fence: The installation of a much-needed new fence at the Mary Bethune Elementary School, made possible through fundraising efforts by the school and the NCAA.

o    New basketball equipment for the Dryades YMCA

o    NCAA and Tyler Ugolyn Foundation: The refurbishment of the Westbank YMCA gymnasium in Algiers, made possible through a partnerships of the NCAA and the Tyler Ugolyn Foundation. The foundation was established in memory of Tyler Ugolyn, an outstanding NCAA student-athlete at Columbia University, mentor and friend who shared a lifelong love of basketball with the world prior to his tragic passing on September 11, 2001.

o    Grow Dat Youth Farm: Middle school students planted 64 blackberry bushes and infrastructure for a new fruit orchard for Grow Dat Youth Farm in the City Park, a community project that teaches high school students from diverse backgrounds how to grow and sell fresh produce.

NCAA Men’s Final Four Career and Sports Forum – More than 200 high school and college students attended to learn about athletic and non-athletic sports career options.

USBWA Writing Workshop – Approximately 100 college and high school students participated in a sports writing workshop.

Middle School Madness – More than 8,000 students from New Orleans area middle schools participated in this year’s NCAA Middle School Madness program – a link between classroom learning and the NCAA that enhances student awareness of the opportunities available through athletics, provides inspiration through student-athlete role models and allows middle school students to participate in the local excitement surrounding the 2012 Final Four.

Final Four Youth Day – The NCAA Final Four Youth Day provided 400 New Orleans area middle school students with the opportunity to embrace the values of education, sports and community involvement. The educational session, which focused on life skills, healthy living, character development, leadership, diversity and community service. Following lunch, the group participated in the Final Four Friday festivities at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

NCAA Final Four Turner/CBS Community Service Project – Fifteen NCAA media coordinators and Turner/CBS representatives teamed up to volunteer their time to give advice on how to obtain careers in sports with 13 to 17 year old students from the Elevate New Orleans, a nonprofit founded by Emeka Okafor and run by Sky Hyacinthe, both former NCAA student-athletes.

Powerade® NCAA Youth Clinics

Reily Center at Tulane University: 260 participants

Alario Center (Westwego, LA): 210 participants

Bracket Town (Friday-Monday): 180 participants

NCAA Final Four and the NABC Ticket to Reading Rewards – The NCAA and the National Association of Basketball Coaches teamed up to encourage middle school students to read books outside of the classroom and obtain rewards through reading. In New Orleans, the Ticket to Reading program reached approximately 15,000 students within The New Orleans School System.

Recycling and green initiatives

– LG “Do March Right” E-Cycling Event: 6,000 electronic items were recycled at the Merecedes-Benz Superdome during the March 25, 2012 e-cycling event.

– An estimated total of 30 tons of material (60,000 pounds) will be recycled at the 2012 Men’s Final Four community events and event venues.

– As of the morning of April 1, 2012, 6.91 tons (13,820 pounds) of cardboard, paper, bottles and cans had been recycled at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome from Final Four events.

– To neutralize the environmental impact of enery use at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome during the three days of Final Four events, New Orleans utility Entergy has provided carbon offsets equal to 753 metric tons of carbon dioxide.


“NCAA, Final Four, The Big Dance, Final Four Friday and Bracket Town are trademarks of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.”

Source: NCAA, New Orleans Local Organizing Committee and Turner.