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As March Madness advances through its brackets, fans are anticipating the 2014 NCAA Final Four at AT&T Stadium on April 5 and 7. This will be the first time AT&T Stadium has hosted the Final Four, expecting up to 80,000 fans.
HKS Sports & Entertainment Group, designers of AT&T Stadium, is not the new kid on the block regarding reconfigurations that morph football venues into outstanding basketball arenas. Since 2009, the architectural firm has teamed with the NCAA on Final Four designs including Ford Field in Detroit (2009), Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis (2010), Houston Reliant Stadium (2011), New Orleans Mercedes-Benz Superdome (2012) and the Georgia Dome in Atlanta last year.
Mark A. Williams, AIA, principal for HKS Sports & Entertainment Group, said, “Designing the Final Four environment and leveraging the venues begin with the center court configuration. We are able to create a high-end atmosphere and experience that begins to communicate and highlight one of the greatest events on the sports and entertainment agenda.”
Benefits of the Final Four design configuration:
The relationship between HKS and the NCAA began when Lucas Oil Stadium opened in 2008. Built as the home of the Indianapolis Colts, the stadium design included configurations for many sports. Yet, in basketball-crazy Indiana, the stadium’s sights were set on hosting the Final Four. The NCAA championship will return to Lucas Oil Stadium in 2015.
“Our approach was to re-examine one of the most loved and passionate sporting events in the country, to create an intimate atmosphere that increases capacity while improving overall revenue and fan experience,” said Byron Chambers, director of sports design for HKS Sports & Entertainment.
The HKS Sports & Entertainment Group, ranked as one of the top sports and entertainment designers by BD World Architecture, has ushered in a new generation of multi-revenue-generating, world-class facilities. The group’s portfolio includes Minnesota Multipurpose Stadium, Cowboys (AT&T) Stadium, Lucas Oil Stadium, Miller Park and major renovations and additions for U.S. Cellular Field and Dodger Stadium. These venues are known for enhancing and leveraging team brand, delivering an enhanced fan experience, and serving as destination environments. HKS is ranked among the top six architectural and engineering firms, according to Building Design+Construction magazine, and operates from 27 worldwide offices.