FORT WORTH — ESPN wants a pretty backdrop when it comes to town during the upcoming Final Four, so the City Council on Tuesday could approve some temporary restrictions for the streets and sidewalks around Sundance Square.ESPN chose Sundance Square for broadcasting during the 2011 Super Bowl because of heavy foot traffic, and it’s coming back in 2014 for the same reason, said Tracy Gilmour, director of marketing for Sundance Square.“They needed a place that had lots of people and lots of energy. They visited a lot of other locations around North Texas when they were making their decision for the Super Bowl, and they found what they were looking for in Fort Worth,” said Gilmour. The city, to do its part to help with Fort Worth’s most significant tie to the 2014 Final Four, could approve a “clean zone” effective from 12:01 a.m. April 4 through 11:59 p.m. April 7. The zone would limit several activities on public streets and sidewalks around the square and down Main Street to the Tarrant County Courthouse, including construction, outdoor sales or distribution of food except by businesses with a permit, outdoor displays and outdoor distribution of public literature. The city “has been asked to assist in ensuring that ESPN’s broadcast headquarters and outdoor broadcast backdrops are consistent with the festive image associated with the NCAA Final Four and related activities,” according to a staff report provided to city council. Gilmour said revenue for restaurants and retail shops on the square increased dramatically during the Super Bowl, with several hitting record highs, and she expects revenue and foot traffic around the square to increase during the Final Four. Robert Jameson, president and CEO of the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Fort Worth hotels should be completely booked that weekend with the Final Four events, the Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway and a citywide convention booked the same weekend. “I think it will be another one of those events that is a benefit to all of us,” said Jameson about the Final Four and North Texas. The college basketball semifinals and the championship games are April 5 and 7 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, but fans are expected to start arriving in North Texas as early as March 20 for Final Four-related events.Visitors are expected to bring $276 million to the Texas economy, according to an economic analysis commissioned by local event organizers. This report includes information from Star-Telegram archives.
Caty Hirst, 817-390-7984 Twitter: @catyhirst