As March Madness advances through its 2013 brackets, fans can anticipate a 2014 NCAA Final Four preview when Cowboys Stadium hosts the South Regional on March 29 and 31. This will be the first time Cowboys Stadium has been staged for NCAA hyper-excited fans. Regionals typically host 40,000-50,000 fans, a warm-up for next year’s big dance at the Arlington, TX venue.
HKS Architects, designers of Cowboys Stadium, are not the new kids on the block with reconfigurations that morph football venues into outstanding basketball arenas. Since 2009, the architectural firm has teamed with the NCAA on Final Four designs. These have included 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 this year.
Mark A. Williams, AIA, principal for HKS Sports & Entertainment Group, said:
The design of the Final Four environment and the leveraging of the venues begins with the centre 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.
The relationship between HKS and 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 returns to Lucas Oil Stadium in 2015.
“Our approach was to re-examine on 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.”