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Mar 14

Final Four Draws...Blackout Curtains?

Posted by: Jim Lillie

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Jim Lillie

Final Four Draws Blackout Curtains

Imagine that there's an approaching basketball tournament, the kind that has employees in cubicle farms everywhere drawing out homemade brackets to guess which teams will advance to the last handful or so.

Organizers of such a tournament would do well to line up media coverage, take care of VIPs, arrange itineraries and accommodations for traveling teams, and coordinate ticket sales and distribution.

But -- put up curtains to keep the sunlight from fouling the eyes of the players themselves?

That's apparently on the to-do list for those responsible for staging the upcoming NCAA men's Final Four basketball event at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

The Minnesota Star-Tribune reports that installing blackout curtains for the tournament will total roughly $5.2 million, billed to the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA), a public entity that manages the stadium finances on behalf of taxpayers.

The MSFA has reportedly been reimbursed $1.7 million for the curtains by the Minnesota Final Four Host committee, and will bank another $200,000 for operations purposes. Those donations are believed to come from private donations.

There are other costs associated with the tournament in order to comply with NCAA requirements.

The pressing question, says the Strib, is who pays for all of that?

Like a Facebook romance status, that answer to that is "complicated". 

Taxpayers contribute yearly amounts to keep the stadium running, as do users, such as the Vikings professional football team. And an event group that operates the facility also ponies up some $32 million every year.

Still, money for curtains to keep sunlight from bursting into the stadium's confines through doors that open and close as patrons come and go?

Ask a masters in Bracketology to explain that one.


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