ESPN brings excitement to Sundance Square

04/04/2014 11:28 AM

04/04/2014 12:03 PM

Sundance Square is bustling with sport celebrities, tourists, basketball fans and downtown employees today as they try to catch part of the ESPN broadcast of the Final Four.

The 400-plus crowd milled around the square, many taking pictures of the ESPN broadcast stations and jumping up and down in front of the cameras to get on TV.

Gracie Owens, who works downtown, came to Sundance Square to see the broadcast and try to get on TV for her “moment of fame.”

“It is just fun and exciting. I love it,” Owens said as she sipped her Jamba Juice and watched the activity from a table.

ESPN chose Sundance Square for broadcasting during the 2011 Super Bowl because of heavy foot traffic, and the sports network came back in 2014 for the same reason. The growing crowd is carefully watched over by several Fort Worth police officers, some on foot, on horseback and on bikes.

Having ESPN broadcasting from Fort Worth’s own Sundance Square for the Final Four is even worth missing school for.

“It’s like a career day, to see if they want to do something in sports or broadcasting,” said Jana Sweet of her two teenage sons, who followed ESPN’s cameras around the square to be on TV.

Jake, 16, and Max, 14, both play basketball and football for Mansfield schools and watch ESPN regularly, so getting to jump up and down and wave to be noticed by the cameras, just like the rest of the crowd gathered in Sundance Square, made for an exciting morning.

“I’ve never been on TV before, so that was fun,” said Jake. Jana Sweet said they are recording the GameDay broadcast at home, so the boys can show it to their friends later.

Sweet joined her husband, Mike Sweet, an attorney downtown, for the afternoon and to grab lunch. The family is cheering for Wisconsin because of family ties to the state.

“It is exciting. It is a great atmosphere to have them here, to have the people here and to kind of catch the spirit of the Final Four without having to go into all the traffic in Dallas or AT&T Stadium. It is just great to have it right here, down the street,” Mike Sweet said.

The Sweets stood behind the broadcast stage, with several cameras working to catch the audience and the backdrop of the Tarrant County Courthouse down Main Street.

A nice diversion

Revenue for restaurants and retail shops on the square increased dramatically during the Super Bowl, with several hitting record highs, said Tracy Gilmour, director of marketing for Sundance Square, in a previous interview.

She expects the businesses to increase revenue this year, as well.

Visitors to the Final Four are expected to add $276 million to the Texas economy, according to an economic analysis commissioned by local event organizers.

Bond Malone and Bryan Frazier, who work in the Wells Fargo tower looming over the broadcast, took a coffee break to watch the activity, despite the great view they have from their offices.

“I think it means a lot for ESPN to choose to broadcast here, when there is so much going on in Dallas with the concerts and everything at AT&T Stadium,” Malone said. “This is exciting. I think this is the perfect showcase for Sundance Square. It is what it is built for.”

“Clean Zone”

The Fort Worth City Council, doing its part to help with Fort Worth’s most significant tie to the 2014 Final Four, approved a “clean zone” in March effective from 12:01 a.m. Friday through 11:59 p.m. Monday.

The zone limits 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 clean zone is meant to provide the “perfect atmosphere” for the ESPN broadcasts, according to a city news release. Multiple Fort Worth code enforcement officers were walking in and around the square on Friday.

ESPN will broadcast from Sundance Square through Monday, offering daily SportsCenter segments, post-game coverage of the semifinals and the championship game, three editions of College GamdeDay, championship-related Tournament Countdown programs, and ESPN Radio’s SVP & Russillo live from the square on Monday, according to a news release.

College GameDay host and game commentator Rece Davis will lead ESPN’s studio coverage from Fort Worth. He will be joined by anchor John Anderson and analysts Jay Bilas, Dan Dakich, Seth Greenberg, Digger Phelps, Dick Vitale and Jay Williams, and reporters Jeannine Edwards and Andy Katz.

ESPN International will televise the semifinals and championship with Dan Shulman, Bilas and Vitale.

The Florida Gators, ranked 1st, are playing the Connecticut Huskies, 7th, at 5:09 p.m. and the Wisconsin Badgers, 2nd, are playing the Kentucky Wildcats, 8th, at 7:49 p.m. on Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The National Championship game will be Monday about 8 p.m.

Final Four-related events include the NCAA March Madness Musical Festival, which is hosting big names like Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, fun., Pat Green and The Wind and the Wave.

This report includes information from Star-Telegram archives.


Time Event L ocation
11 a.m Doors open for Reese's Final Four Friday and Tip-Off Tailgate presented by Infiniti AT&T Stadium
Noon-8 p.m. Bracket Town™ presented by Capital One® Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center
1-2 p.m. Coca-Cola® NCAA® Youth Clinic Buick Arena at Bracket Town
1-2 p.m. NABC Coach/NBA Legend Autograph Session AT&T Fan Zone at Bracket Town
2:30-3:30 p.m. Coca-Cola® NCAA® Youth Clinic Hoops Training Court at Bracket Town
2:30-3:30 p.m. NABC Coach/NBA Legend Autograph Session AT&T Fan Zone at Bracket Town
3 p.m. NCAA March Madness Music Festival - AT&T Block Party Downtown Dallas - Reunion Park
3:30 – 4:30 p.m. NCAA March Madness Music Festival - AT&T Block Party - Jack Ingram Downtown Dallas - Reunion Park
4-5 p.m. Coca-Cola® NCAA® Youth Clinics Hoops Training Court at Bracket Town
4-5 p.m. Wilson presents "Dude Perfect" Buick Arena at Bracket Town
4-5 p.m. NABC Coach/NBA Legend Autograph Session AT&T Fan Zone at Bracket Town
4-5 p.m. John Salley Autograph Session Coca-Cola at Bracket Town
4-5 p.m. Clyde Drexler Autograph Session NCAA.com at Bracket Town
4-5:30 p.m. Cheer Clinic Spirit Court at Bracket Town
4:30 p.m. Reese's College All-Star Game AT&T Stadium
5-6 p.m. NCAA March Madness Music Festival - AT&T Block Party - Wild Feathers Downtown Dallas - Reunion Park
5:30-6:30 p.m. NABC Coach/NBA Legend Autograph Session AT&T Fan Zone at Bracket Town
6:30-7:30 p.m. NCAA® Final Four® Pep Rally Buick Arena at Bracket Town
6:30-8 p.m. NCAA March Madness Music Festival - AT&T Block Party - Eli Young Band Downtown Dallas - Reunion Park
6:45 p.m. Reese's SLANT Celebration AT&T Stadium
8:30-10 p.m. NCAA March Madness Music Festival - AT&T Block Party - Jason Aldean Downtown Dallas - Reunion Park
10:30 p.m. NCAA March Madness Music Festival - AT&T Block Party Ends Reunion Park, Downtown Dallas
Saturday, April 5
Time Event Location
7:15 a.m Northwestern Mutual Road to the Final Four 5K - Registration and packet pickup Fair Park, Dallas
8 a.m.-noon Coca-Cola® NCAA® Youth Clinics Multiple Locations
8:30 a.m. Northwestern Mutual Road to the Final Four 5K - Race Begins Fair Park, Dallas
10 a.m.-7 p.m. Bracket Town™ presented by Capital One® Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center
10 a.m.-7 p.m. Kings of the Court 3-on-3 Tournament presented by BURGER KING® Burger King at Bracket Town
10 a.m.-7 p.m. Pat the Roc (Hourly Performances) Connor Sport Court at Bracket Town
10:30-11:30 a.m. Bill Raftery Autograph Session Allstate at Bracket Town
11 a.m.-noon Coca-Cola® NCAA® Youth Clinic Buick Arena at Bracket Town
11 a.m.-noon NABC Coach/NBA Legend Autograph Session AT&T Fan Zone at Bracket Town
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Tony Dorsett Autograph Session NCAA.com at Bracket Town
Noon NCAA March Madness Music Festival - Coca Colca Zero(tm) Countdown Reunion Park, Downtown Dallas
Noon-1 p.m. NABC Coach/NBA Legend Autograph Session AT&T Fan Zone at Bracket Town
Noon-1 p.m. Bill Walton Autograph Session Capital One Fan Zone at Bracket Town
12:30-1:30 p.m. Coca-Cola® NCAA® Youth Clinics Hoops Training Court at Bracket Town
1-4:45 p.m. Tip Off Tailgate presented by Infiniti - Final Four Ticket Holders Only AT & T Stadium
1-2 p.m. NABC Coach/NBA Legend Autograph Session AT&T Fan Zone at Bracket Town
1:15-2:15 p.m. Bill Walton Autograph Session NCAA.com at Bracket Town
1:30 - :2:15 p.m. NCAA March Madness Music Festival - Coca Colca Zero(tm) Countdown – LL Cool J Reunion Park, Downtown Dallas
1:30-2:30 p.m. AT&T Presents Fifth Harmony Live! Buick Arena at Bracket Town
2-3 p.m. NABC Coach/NBA Legend Autograph Session AT&T Fan Zone at Bracket Town
2:45-4:15 p.m. NCAA March Madness Music Festival - Coca Colca Zero(tm) Countdown – Tim McGraw Reunion Park, Downtown Dallas
3-4:30 p.m. Jason Witten Autograph Session Capital One Fan Zone at Bracket Town
4-4:30 p.m. North Texas Dance Teams Performance Buick Arena at Bracket Town
Approx. 3 p.m. Doors Open for National Semifinals AT&T Stadium
Approx. 5 p.m. National Semifinal Game Tip-off AT&T Stadium
7:30-9 p.m. NCAA March Madness Music Festival - Coca Colca Zero(tm) Countdown - The Killers (tentative time based on Semifinal #1) Reunion Park, Downtown Dallas
Sunday, April 6
Time Event Location
9:30 a.m. Final Four Dribble Refreshed by Coca Cola - Check In Dallas City Hall Plaza
11:30 a.m. Final Four Dribble Refreshed by Coca Cola - Dribble begins Dallas City Hall Plaza
Noon-8 p.m. Bracket Town™ presented by Capital One® Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center
Noon-8 p.m. Kings of the Court 3-on-3 Tournament presented by BURGER KING® Burger King at Bracket Town
Noon-8 p.m. Pat the Roc (Hourly Performances) Connor Sport Court at Bracket Town
12:15-1:15 p.m. NABC Coach/NBA Legend Autograph Session AT&T Fan Zone at Bracket Town
12:15-1:15 p.m. Seth Davis Autograph Session Capital One Fan Zone at Bracket Town
12:30-1:30 p.m. Coca-Cola® NCAA® Youth Clinic Hoops Training Court at Bracket Town
12:30-1:30 p.m. Cheer Clinic Spirit Court at Bracket Town
12:30-1:30 p.m. 2nd Annual Unified Sports Experience Coca Cola at Bracket Town
1:30-2:30 p.m. John Salley Autograph Session NCAA.com at Bracket Town
1:30-2:30 p.m. Dave Robinson Autograph Session Coca Cola at Bracket Town
1:45-2:45 p.m. NABC Coach/NBA Legend Autograph Session AT&T Fan Zone at Bracket Town
2-10:30 p.m. NCAA March Madness Music Festival - Capital One JamFest Downtown Dallas - Reunion Park
2-3 p.m. Coca-Cola® NCAA® Youth Clinic Hoops Training Court at Bracket Town
2-3 p.m. Michael Finley Autograph Session Capital One Fan Zone at Bracket Town
2-3 p.m. Dick Vitale Autograph Session Allstate at Bracket Town
2:15 - 3 p.m. NCAA March Madness Music Festival - Capital One JamFest – The Wind and The Wave Downtown Dallas - Reunion Park
3-5 p.m. Cheer Clinic Spirit Court at Bracket Town
3:15-4:15 p.m. NABC Coach/NBA Legend Autograph Session AT&T Fan Zone at Bracket Town
3:30-4:30 p.m. Coca-Cola® NCAA® Youth Clinic Hoops Training Court at Bracket Town
3:30-4:30 p.m. Allstate® March Mayhem® Shootout Buick Arena at Bracket Town
3:30-4:30 p.m. NCAA March Madness Music Festival - Capital One JamFest – Pat Green Band Downtown Dallas - Reunion Park
4:45-5:45 p.m. NABC Coach/NBA Legend Autograph Session AT&T Fan Zone at Bracket Town
5:15-6:30 p.m. NCAA March Madness Music Festival - Capital One JamFest – fun. Downtown Dallas - Reunion Park
5:30-6:30 p.m. Mateen Cleaves Autograph Session Allstate at Bracket Town
7:15-10:15 p.m. NCAA March Madness Music Festival - Capital One JamFest – Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band Downtown Dallas - Reunion Park
Monday, April 7
Time Event Location
Noon-7 p.m. Bracket Town™ presented by Capital One® Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center
12:30-1:30 p.m. Coca-Cola® NCAA® Youth Clinic Buick Arena at Bracket Town
2-3 p.m. Coca-Cola® NCAA® Youth Clinic Hoops Training Court at Bracket Town
2-3 p.m. Mateen Cleeves Autograph Session Coca-Cola at Bracket Town
4-7:45 p.m. Tip-Off Tailgate presented by Infiniti - Final Four Ticket Holders Only AT&T Stadium
6 p.m. Doors open for National Championship AT&T Stadium
Approx 8 p.m. National Championship AT&T Stadium
Approx. Midnight NCAA/NABC National Championship Trophy Presentation to follow Championship Game Winning Team Hotel

Source: www.ncaa.com

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