Those of you who listened to Friday's Final Four games on the radio were forced to endure not only a complete lack of moving images but also sportscaster Jim Gray's brief but remarkably inane sideline interview with Jerry Jones, in which the Cowboys' owner noted approvingly that AT&T Stadium's TV screen is in fact larger than the basketball court, and that it gives fans a chance to see what basketball looks like when the players are 70 feet tall.
That's the positive way to spin it. It would have been more honest if Jones joined the chorus and described AT&T Stadium for what it is: a terrible basketball venue.
The Dallas Morning News is now simply reporting this as fact:
Yes, the Final Fours are now all being played in football stadiums and none are ideal for basketball. But Jerry World has to be the worst. Folks in the upper bowl are so far away from the action that they have to watch the majority of the game on the big screen. And I get it, it's a nice big screen. But spending hundreds of dollars on tickets, parking and food clearly offset the price of watching basketball on a $40 million TV.
Soon, America had reached the same conclusion. Like CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd:
Somewhere down there is the final four. pic.twitter.com/8Vue6fmbqs— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) April 5, 2014
I don't need a telestrator, I need the Hubble Telescope.— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) April 5, 2014
And Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel:
Final attendance tally at Jerry World: 79,444. But does more people equal a better atmosphere?— Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) April 6, 2014
And ESPN's Mike Humes:
The table you don't want to visit when walking to your Final Four seats pic.twitter.com/tOB8Re5d9T— Mike Humes (@MikeHumesESPN) April 5, 2014
And so on. Fox Sports sought out and found the "worst Final Four seat at AT&T Stadium," which was occupied by a guy from Missouri named Dan Schwabe, who predicted that "from a fan perspective, it's going to go down as the worst Final Four ever."
Not that the NCAA is overly concerned with the "fan perspective," so long as it can keep packing in record-setting crowds and ink mammoth TV deals. More piercing was another critique, voiced most forcefully by Thamel:
The Final Four should never be held in an city where you can't walk to the arena from downtown. Ever.— Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) April 5, 2014
Nobody enjoys trekking to Arlington. Especially when the hotels and associated festivities are centered in Dallas or Fort Worth. This isn't just an urbanist's lament. The Star-Telegram reports that the lack of walkability and easy public transport could jeopardize AT&T Stadium's quest for the 2017 Final Four.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.