With 80 days left until Atlanta hosts its fifth NCAA Final Four championship, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta Sports Council President Dan Corso, and NCAA basketball leaders held a short press conference downtown to officially announce the fan events that will accompany the championship games.
Just like last year’s Super Bowl, the venues surrounding Mercedes Benz-Stadium—where the Final Four will be held on April 4 (semifinals) and 6 (finals)—will be transformed to host various events designed to entertain incoming spectators and locals who may or may not really care about college basketball (but don’t want to miss out on the fun).
The Final Four Fan Fest, taking place April 3-6, will sound familiar to anyone who went to the Super Bowl Experience last year, with kid-friendly, sports-themed games including basketball shooting, rock climbing, a home-run derby, and cheer clinics, along with autograph sessions and athlete appearances. Like SB Experience, it will also take place at the Georgia World Congress Center, but the tickets are much cheaper—$10 for adults and free for kids. Tickets are actually on sale now for $8 if you know you want to go. (And if you’ve got a Capital One card, good news, you can get free tickets.)
Likewise, Centennial Olympic Park will also be the home for a free concert series, just as it was during the Super Bowl and the 2018 College Football Championship. So far, the only announced headliner is Taylor Swift, who will play on Sunday, April 5, but there will also be concerts on April 3 and 4. Last year’s concert series in Minnesota boasted a lineup of pop and EDM heavy-hitters including the Jonas Brothers, the Chainsmokers, and Katy Perry and Zedd. Here’s hoping that the event planners book some of Atlanta’s local talent to take the stage—a Run the Jewels show perhaps? Lil Baby? The possibilities are endless.
Also on the roster: Final Four Friday on April 3, which is a free, open practice for the championship teams where fans will have the first opportunity to see Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s conversion into a basketball arena. Traditional hanging center scoreboard screens will be added to show game footage and replays alongside MBS’s halo board, and several rows of additional seats will be added to fill the gap between the court and the stadium’s existing seating. Officials are hoping this event could break both Final Four and MBS attendance records by hosting 80,000 fans. (For comparison, the 2018 MLS Cup hosted about 73,000 fans.) The practice will be followed by an All-Star Game featuring senior NCAA athletes.
And while most eyes will be on the Division 1 Final Four, State Farm Arena will also host the Division II and Division III championships on April 5, which are free to attend. (Press conference guest George Lynch, former NCAA champ and current Clark Atlanta University coach, spoke about how he hopes to lead his Panthers, currently on a six-game win streak, to the DII finals.) Preceding this event is the Final Four Dribble, which invites kids and teenagers to dribble basketballs in a downtown parade. The first 3,000 fans will get a free t-shirt, a basketball, and entry into the Fan Fest. The event is free to participate, but you’ll need to sign up at one of the metro area’s Buick dealerships—a whole list of them can be found here—beginning today.