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New Cowboys stadium lands 2014 Final Four

The dance card at the new Dallas Cowboys stadium is filling up.

The NCAA announced Wednesday that Arlington and the stadium will play host to the men’s Final Four tournament in 2014 — the latest in a series of mega-sports events, including the NBA All-Star Game in 2010 and Super Bowl XLV in 2011, scheduled at the new stadium.

"You’re going to see the largest-attended basketball game that has ever been played," said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. "We can put approximately 18,000 to 20,000 on the floor where the Cowboys play football. The court will be right on the star."

The NCAA also awarded Final Fours to New Orleans for 2012, Atlanta in 2013, Indianapolis in 2015 and Houston in 2016. Detroit, Minneapolis, Phoenix/Glendale, San Antonio and St. Louis were also considered as Final Four sites by the NCAA.

The Cowboys stadium also will be the site for a men’s NCAA regional tournament in 2013.

The NCAA basketball committee chair, Southeastern Conference comissioner Mike Slive, said the group was impressed with the presentation made last week by area officials, including representatives from the Big 12 Conference who addressed concerns about area transportation and maintaining a collegiate atmosphere for the event.

"The new Cowboys stadium and the way it is configured where there are areas on each side, that will permit very significant ancillary day-of-game events," said Slive, adding that the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts will be host to some of the non-game events on championship weekend.

The last time the area was host to a Final Four was in 1986 at Reunion Arena, when then-freshman Pervis Ellison led Louisville over Duke. Last week, Dallas lost its bid for the women’s Final Four at American Airlines Center.

"For us to be able to showcase the Big 12, the Dallas Cowboys and their stadium, North Texas and the Metroplex is a real honor," Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said.

All of the Final Fours announced Wednesday will be played in football stadiums, and the Cowboys stadium will have the largest seating capacity.

Slive said it has not been determined how many of the Cowboys stadium’s seating capacity the NCAA will use for the Final Four. The new stadium will have about 80,000 permanent seats, but can be flexed to more than 100,000 seats.

And while more seats translates to more revenue for the NCAA, Slive said the committee did not review any financial analysis of the bids until the last day and added that "the economics did not vary so widely across the proposals that any city was selected or not selected because of the finances."

With a Final Four now added to the growing list of events at the new stadium, Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck said he believes the city made a good investment by providing $325 million in taxpayer-funding for the new stadium.

"I think it’s paying off," Cluck said. "We’ll come out better than we did at the [Rangers] Ballpark [in Arlington] because of these big events."

Arlington’s the ticket

Big sporting events scheduled at the new Dallas Cowboys stadium in Arlington, scheduled to open for the Cowboys’ 2009 season:

Super Bowl XLV: Feb. 6, 2011

NBA All-Star Game: Feb. 14, 2010

NCAA men’s Final Four: April 5 and 7, 2014

Cotton Bowl: each January starting in 2010 (10-year contract)

Big 12 football Championship Game: Dec. 5, 2009; Dec. 4, 2010

Texas A&M vs. Arkansas football: Oct. 3, 2009 (10-year contract)

Notre Dame vs. Arizona State football: Oct. 5, 2013

*Texas vs. North Carolina basketball: Dec. 19, 2009

*Pending a signed contract between the schools