Final Four Tickets-A Hard Ticket to Find

Monday, March 12th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Good luck to those looking for Final Four tickets.

By the end of the month, most of the 46,000 seats in the Metrodome will be long gone, sold to the powerful and connected.

``It's the hottest ticket for any sporting event in America with the possible exception of the Masters,'' said Bill Lester, executive director of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission.

The public did have a chance at seats last summer. About 113,000 fans paid $2 each to enter the random drawing for 10,000 tickets.

Because of the NCAA's national lottery for tickets, almost all the spectators at the Final Four are tourists. Ninety percent of ticket-holders will be visiting the Dome for the first time.

The NCAA also has set aside 18,000 tickets to be divided evenly among the four teams that make it into the semifinals. Those games will be March 31, with the winners meeting for the title April 2.

At Minnesota, the host school, many administrators and donors got a shot at the university's allocation of 1,500 tickets.

The Twin Cities Organizing Committee, which was formed to coordinate the Final Four event, received about 5,600 tickets.

In addition, 4,000 tickets went to NCAA schools across the country for presidents and athletic directors, and 4,000 went to the National Association of Basketball Coaches, which is holding its annual convention in Minneapolis on the same weekend.

The balance, about 5,000, went to the NCAA, which sells the tickets to its corporate sponsors, CBS Sports and other media.

At face value, tickets that include all three games go for $120, $140 or $160 depending on location. Tickets already are being sold on the Internet for up to $680 each.

While it's illegal to sell tickets in Minnesota for more than face value, ticket brokers say those willing to look around, and pay from $400 to $9,000 per seat, could wind up with tickets.