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NCAA Regionals Sold Out in Oakland? Not Really

This is another terrible article from Paul T. Rosynsky. He never does his homework. If he did, he'd have mentioned that one can get tickets through SBS by just clicking on the title of this post. But instead he goes and talks to SMG's Mark Kaufmann, who makes the ridicious statement that "this is more popular than the Super Bowl." Right Mark. That's only because you couldn't go to the Super Bowl. That's SMG for you, always out to keep the Coliseum Authority in medocrity.

....Super Bowl tickets were going for almost $3,000 in the open market, versus have that for the NCAA March games.

March Madness is sold out

The only way to see popular college basketball tournament at Oakland Arena is on television (BS - Zennie)

By Paul T. Rosynsky, STAFF WRITER, Oakland Tribune

OAKLAND — March Madness is coming to the Oakland Arena next month but the only way to see the popular mens' college basketball tournament is to watch it on the television.
The event, which will be the Regional Finals for the

64-team tournament — more commonly known as the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight — has been sold out for months.

Much like the Super Bowl, tickets to the NCCA tournament on March 23-25 are mostly reserved for corporate sponsors, participating teams and the host.

Only a small percentage of the $135 tickets are left open, under NCAA rules, to the general public.

In Oakland's case, the leftover inventory amounted to

7,075 tickets out of the roughly 19,000 inside the Oakland Arena.

Those were awarded to fans who knew the tournament was coming and entered a lottery.

At least 4,000 seats went to supporters of the University of San Francisco Dons.

The university, which came to Oakland officials six years ago in hopes of partnering to get the event, had the right to sell tickets to its season ticket holders, alumni, staff and boosters before selling them to the general public.

Under NCAA rules, a university or conference must join with an arena owner in order to place a bid for a portion of the tournament.

As a reward, that university is given seats to the games played at the chosen location.

"It is a benefit hosting the event," said Mike Lockrem, director of athletic communications at the University of Minnesota, which is also hosting a regional final this year. "Financially, you don't make large sums of money... but it is an opportunity to give your supporters something back."

University of San Francisco officials said they did not know how many of their supporters bought tickets to the Oakland Regional.

"I don't think we want to give out that information," said Colon Allen, director of the school's ticket sales and marketing.

Peter Simon, associate athletic director, confirmed that the school gave its mens' basketball season ticket holders first dibs.

But he did not know how many actually bought tickets, nor could he say how many people have season tickets to watch the Dons in action.

According to the NCAA's Men's Basketball Championship Handbook, roughly 5,050 seats must be reserved for the four schools whose teams make it to the regional finals.

Lockrem said another roughly 3,000 seats must be reserved for corporate sponsors.

Added to the 7,000 seats USF officials said they offered to the general public, the school appears to have saved about 4,000 seats for its supporters.

To be sure, allowing your school's boosters and alumni first dibs for the tournament is not unusual.

Several schools hosting the event this year said they gave their boosters an exclusive right to buy tickets.

And NCAA records show that only five venues out of the 13 hosting a portion of the tournament still have tickets available. Of those five, two are hosting games in a dome which usually has twice the capacity of an arena.

Nevertheless, the lack of available tickets has already created a scalpers paradise.

Ticket brokers are selling the three-game $135 tickets to the Oakland Regional for anywhere between $259 to $1,495 for all three games that will be played.

On Craigslist, tickets to the event are being sold for $275 a piece for all three games.

"I look at it as being even more popular than the Super Bowl," said Mark Kaufman, general manager for the Oakland Arena and McAfee Coliseum. "It is not going to be easy getting a ticket to this event."

Even without the chance to get tickets, Kaufman said city residents will benefit by playing host.

The teams that make it to the regional finals will bring scores of fans with them. Those fans will stay in city hotels, eat at area restaurants and spend cash inside the Arena.

While the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority only gets 10 percent of the proceeds from ticket sales, it gets most of the proceeds from the sale of hot dogs, sodas and parking spaces at the complex.

Any money generated will help reduce the yearly $20 million taxpayer subsidy paid to the complex to keep it solvent.

In addition, CBS will televise the event, giving Oakland a national spotlight.

"We are going to make sure the area is clean, and we will give people a good impression," said City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente. "We benefit from this exposure, and we benefit from the economics."

It will be the first time in over a decade that the Oakland Arena will host a portion of the NCAA tournament.

But Kaufman said he hopes it's not the last.

The Coliseum Authority and USF have already partnered in a bid to get the 2008 regional finals.

"This will be a make it or break it event," Kaufman said. "I'm sure the NCAA, before they make their final determination for 2008 hosts, will want to see how this event is run."

If Oakland does win the 2008 bid, De La Fuente said more tickets should be made available to Oakland residents.

"Hopefully, next time we do better," he said of ticket availability.
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