NCAA Tulsa backers aim for 'sold out'
BY BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer
Sunday, March 13, 2011
3/13/11 at 5:47 AM
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Selection Sunday is today, and once the teams headed to Tulsa for the NCAA Tournament are known, the remaining tickets are expected to be snapped up.
That's what needs to happen, officials emphasized, if the city wants to host March Madness again anytime soon.
"Packing the house at the BOK Center is not only good for the NCAA, it's good for Tulsa and our future reputation as a major-event host city," said Ray Hoyt, Tulsa Sports Commission executive director. The Tulsa Sports Commission is a division of the Tulsa Convention and Visitors Bureau.
With less than 6,000 tickets left in the venue's 17,839 basketball capacity, officials expect all of them to be sold within 48 hours of this evening's announcement. The tournament field will be unveiled during a selection show aired by KOTV channel 6 at 5 p.m.
At this point, only all-session tickets are available, at $237 each.
As of 10 a.m. Sunday, tickets will only be sold through tickets.com, both online (tulsaworld.com/ncaatickets ) and by phone (1-866-7-BOKCTR).
If any remain, single-session tickets will go on sale for $79 each at 10 a.m. Wednesday to in-person customers only at the venue's box office.
All-session tickets will continue to be sold online and by phone.
Tulsa Metro Chamber CEO and President Mike Neal was critical of University of Tulsa fans and others for not supporting the Conference USA basketball tournament held last year at the BOK Center.
Neal said he doesn't want a repeat. "Everyone needs to get behind this NCAA Tournament and make sure the BOK Center is filled to the rafters," he said.
"It must be a sellout to ensure we'll have this opportunity again."
Local and regional residents who want to attend need to buy their tickets now and not delay, Neal said.
"Once those team pairings and brackets are announced, in all likelihood fans from Kansas and Texas and all around are going to buy those tickets up fast," he said.
"We're hoping they'll be gone in a matter of hours. I really don't envision us having any single-session tickets left."
Hoyt added that hotels are also filling up fast.
"Our hotel partners have steadily been filling inquiries for numerous fan groups, and we fully expect once teams are announced on Sunday night that the remaining rooms will quickly be booked," he said.
"With the right teams assigned in Tulsa, we hope to be a 'no vacancy' city next weekend."
Original Print Headline: Tourney backers aim for 'sold out'
Brian Barber 918-581-8322