Final Four weekend a success for Atlanta - New York News

Final Four weekend a success for Atlanta

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ATLANTA -

Louisville's win over Michigan capped off a huge weekend for Atlanta. The NCAA championship games brought more than 100,000 people to the city, plus thousands more who came out for the free concerts at Centennial Olympic Park.

"It was my first Final Four ever and it was amazing," said one excited Final Four fan.

Many of the Louisville fans who left the Georgia Dome after the NCAA finals weren't just excited about the Louisville Cardinals pulling out a win over Michigan, but also enthusiastic about their host city.

"The fans were here, came all the way to Atlanta. It was wonderful," said Louisville fan Clarence Foster.

Another Louisville fan, Ray Meade, says Atlanta kept him busy.

"We had the Fan Fest. We went to the Braves game. Atlanta had it all. It was so much fun," said Meade.

That fun pumped a lot into the local economy. It's estimated that everything from hotel stays to eating in Atlanta restaurants, tourists in town for the big weekend pumped $70 million into the city's economy.
     
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said that the weekend showed that the city showed it can handle big events. He pointed to relatively few incidents at a Final Four that also drew the largest crowd the event ever hosted.

"I'm hopeful Dr. Emmert and his team will leave with a good feeling about Atlanta. Obviously the NFL will be making decisions about the next group of Super Bowl announcements.  I would like to host a BCS championship very badly," said Reed.

Vendors told FOX 5 that had trouble keeping up with those crowds, selling out of a lot of merchandise during the weekend concerts.

"It got to the point where our credit card machines were actually down throughout the entire concert. We could only take cash.  We actually had to call a guy to bring an ATM," said vendor Paul Morafates.

Event organizers say the glitches, such as fans jumping the gates for Sunday's Sting and Dave Matthews concert were minor ones. Overall they are pleased with the flow of traffic despite upwards of a 100,000 additional people making their way through downtown.

"I would give Atlanta an A plus. We have rocked every event. It was well attended.  The weather has been perfect.  We've been tracking on social media, and we've had wonderful compliments," said    Sharon Goldmacher, president of Communications 21.
    
Police say they had no major problems throughout the weekend. Reed credits his public safety team, fire and police, for the relatively few number of incidences that they had to respond to.

HOT TOPIC QUESTION: How would you rate Atlanta as a host for the Final Four events? Post your comments on our FOX 5 Atlanta Facebook page, or tweet us @GoodDayAtlanta.

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