The ACC Tournament- Recap (Part 3)
I hope all of you were able to watch and enjoy some of the great basketball that was played in the Georgia Dome last week. First hand, I can tell you that it was some of the most intense and hard played basketball I have seen. Just as in 2001 (the last time ACC was in Atlanta) Duke stole the show and came out on top.
Leading up to the tournament, we had a few things going against us. First, the economy is truly affecting our industry. This was the first year that the ACC released tickets for public sale for their Men’s Basketball Tournament. Typically the tickets are divided by the schools to be given to boosters and donors. This year, a certain amount of tickets were sold in packages for the entire tournament. No single game tickets were sold through the conference or the Georgia Dome. However, the ACC’s preferred secondary market ticket vendor -SeatExchange was selling single game tickets. This only created a minor problem when fans of teams who lost early wanted to sell their tickets away. In this situation we needed to be accommodating to the fans. Realizing that this event is so astronomically different than any other- we could allow controlled selling of tickets on the concourse just inside the gate area. We certainly did not want it to be seen in the seats or main concourse areas.
Second, a lot of people were curious to see how accommodating Atlanta would be to the long time fans of the ACC who are used to Greensboro, NC as their tournament site. The Greensboro arena was essentially built for the ACC. So the long time attendees of the tournament (mostly boosters and donors) have gotten used to the city, arena, and the travel. Coming to Atlanta, the big city presents a whole different game-plan as a fan. Not only is the city bigger and busier, but the venue itself is much larger and could be confusing to first time visitors. This goes back to the importance of the whole city working together on this one. Whether it is hotel service, street signage, friendly law enforcement personnel, it all helps make the time here well spent. It makes the city seem “not so big”- if that is possible.
I am glad to say that we did a great job collectively in making this tournament a great experience for those who attended and for the ACC. From our perspective, the event went extremely well. Our staff is great at handling last minute requests and catching potential problems before they happen.
Here are a few of the things that popped up during event week.
– The ACC requires security to perform hand wanding at the gates and magnetometers at the media and team entrances. Our staff is used to performing the NFL pat-down, but has little experience with metal detectors. After the first day, we had to modify our hand wanding procedure to allow the crowd to flow more quickly into the building.
– We were provided specs for Raycom’s TV platform and they turned out to be incorrect. The platform needed to be 7 ft. instead of 12 ft. as to not block the view of guests. We had the scaffold company come back and adjust it accordingly. This was a crucial catch.
– The main camera platform behind the temporary seating needs to be no less than 25ft. x 15 ft.- enough to have 6-7 camera locations. We had to move our Dome Productions camera to another location which was troublesome because it shoots for the house feed as well as archiving needs for the conference.
– ESPN brought an additional office trailer for the TV compound. This wasn’t really an issue, but we always like to know how many are coming ahead of time so we can follow the correct procedures for dock passes and security in the compound.
– The ACC has Pepsi as a major sponsor, and as you may know, Atlanta is home to the Coke World Headquarters. We ran into a few issues when a couple non-aquafina water bottles made their way to press row. Sponsorship is definitely one of the things way more people have their eyes on than you would expect.
Those a just a few of the “out of the ordinary” things that popped up during the tournament. Other than tending to these minor requests and changes, we were tasked with making sure our front-line staff continued to show the same excitement and enthusiasm for the tournament as the fans. It is always tough when you have a 4 day event . By Friday night most everyone was operating on adrenaline having worked two 20 hour days. I think we did a great job keeping the staff energized and focused on helping our guests.
All of the effort put forth by the city, the sports council, acvb and the dome has made Atlanta the site for the 2012 ACC tournament. We are extremely lucky to have a great relationship with the conference and to have their confidence for another year.
Enjoy the NCAA tournament.
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