DALLAS, March 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- With faces painted, lanyards draped, bags packed and novelty foam fingers in tow, college basketball fans will soon set out for Atlanta and New Orleans in the hopes of witnessing their favorite teams capture a piece of college basketball history. To help keep things spirited, AT&T* will provide an action-packed weekend full of entertainment and activities for fans in the host cities or wherever they choose to experience one of the most exciting events in sports.
"The NCAA tournament provides some of the most captivating and exciting action in all of sports, and we want to help fans keep up with their favorite teams at home and on-the-go," said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility. "From live entertainment events and exclusive behind-the-scenes images to real-time highlights, AT&T is connecting fans to the best game moments in new and interactive ways from their TV, mobile device or favorite social media platform."
Big Events in ATL
Fans are sure to huddle up at Bracket Town™ Refreshed by Coca-Cola Zero™ in the Georgia World Congress Center Friday, April 5, through Monday, April 8. There at the AT&T Fan Zone, attendees can interact with the latest AT&T products and services, including the LG Optimus G™, practice their skills with fan-friendly games, and tout their fandom during 15 autograph sessions with current NCAA® coaches and basketball legends, beginning Friday.
Those needing some music for their memorable montage can jam out with teen artist, Cody Simpson on Sunday, April 7. His performance begins at 2 p.m. EDT at Bracket Town's Buick Center Court with an autograph session to follow.
The Big Dance® Concert Series will kick off on Friday, April 5 at 3 p.m. EDT with the AT&T Block Party in downtown Atlanta. This free, three-day music festival is located at Centennial Olympic Park and will feature a number of musical acts every night. AT&T will start Friday night's action with American rock band My Morning Jacket and three-time GRAMMY Award winners and multi-platinum artists Zac Brown Band. For those following the weekend's events online, live streams of the performances will be available on multiple platforms, including via the AT&T Facebook page.
The winner of the 2013 Naismith Trophy for Men's College Player of the Year presented by AT&T will be revealed during the AT&T NABC Guardians of the Game Awards Show on Sunday, April 7. For the ninth consecutive year, fans will help determine which talented student-athlete takes home college basketball's premier individual honor simply by calling **VOTE (**8683) before 11:59 p.m. EDT on Saturday, April 6+. Fan vote via wireless activation will account for 25 percent of the overall vote, more than any other individual award.
Enhance the Experience
With so many activities taking place in one weekend, fans can stay up to speed with the NCAA® Final Four® Mobile App, presented by AT&T. The Final Four® mobile app has all the information fans need including game times, fan gathering spots and Bracket Town™ and Big Dance® activities. The app allows fans to create their own schedule, find directions and info on the interactive map, play the AT&T Prize Pursuit scavenger hunt for a chance to win prizes and stay connected to their favorite social channels. Fans can download the app by calling **NCAA (**6222)+.
Fans that follow AT&T on Foursquare have a chance to unlock the 2013 AT&T Final Four® Fanatic badge by checking in at AT&T locations including the AT&T Block Party at the Big Dance, AT&T Fan Zone at Bracket Town™ refreshed by Coca-Cola Zero™ and the Georgia Dome.
Fans will have exclusive access to content through Twitter with Real Time Highlights and NCAA® Courtside presented by AT&T. Real Time Highlights brings fans closer to the action as real-time highlights are featured via the @MarchMadness and @ATT Twitter handles. With NCAA Courtside presented by AT&T, followers will also experience what it's like courtside with exclusive behind-the-scenes photos throughout the tournament.
Watching your team play in the NCAA® tournament on your big screen is great, but AT&T U-verse Horse goes to the next level by literally turning the game on your TV into the game in your hands. This ultimate second-screen game experience allows people to play a game of H-O-R-S-E using the real players on their TV screen. Choose a live game. Tap a spot on the court. Then watch. If a player on TV takes a shot from that spot, and makes it, your opponent has to make the same shot. Miss it and you get a letter. Fans can challenge their friends and experience AT&T U-verse Horse at http://www.uversehorse.com/.
Supporting New Experts
In addition to others, AT&T is sponsoring the team at Conan State University, recently founded by Conan O'Brien, host of TBS late night show CONAN. Fans can learn more about this fun promotion and apply for Conan State at www.teamcoco.com/conanstate. Those following AT&T's "It's Not Complicated" series will enjoy a lineup of new spots featuring the nation's favorite little sports fans and some surprise guests. Fans can catch all of these spots on the "It's Not Complicated" playlist on YouTube.
Networks in Atlanta: AT&T Mobile Internet Experience
AT&T is preparing for an uptick in customers eager to learn more about onsite activities, watch games and keep an eye on their brackets. In addition to its 4G LTE service, launched in September 2011, AT&T has deployed enhanced backhaul connections to cell sites on and around the Final Four® event sites in the Georgia Dome and GWCC to increase coverage and capacity for customers attending the festivities.
AT&T is also deploying Cell on Wheels (COWs) at Philips Arena where the NCAA® Division II and III Championship Games will be held as well as Centennial Olympic Park where many Final Four® events will take place. COWs are designed to temporarily augment capacity in areas where we expect to see high levels of network traffic during the event.
Running Point in New Orleans
The 2013 NCAA® Women's Final Four® will tip off in New Orleans on Saturday, April 6. Fans of all ages can experience a range of activities throughout the weekend at the AT&T Fan Zone inside Tourney Town™ Refreshed by Coca-Cola Zero™ – featuring autograph sessions with current NCAA® coaches, mobile samplings, prizes and much more. Tourney Town™ Refreshed by Coca-Cola Zero™ is a free, interactive fan experience held outside of the New Orleans Arena.
In addition to unique fan programming, the weekend will also benefit the local community. During The AT&T Mascot Challenge, held at Tourney Town's Center Stage on Sunday, April 7 at 12 p.m. CDT, participants from the United Way of Southeast Louisiana will team up with some of college basketball's greatest mascots and face off in a series of fun competitions. The winning team will receive a donation for United Way, and the mascot a check for its school's spirit program.
Fans can also make a fast break to the AT&T Team Autograph Sessions held throughout the day on Saturday, April 6. Here, each Final Four team will hold an open practice and participate in a 30-minute autograph session. Both activities will take place at the New Orleans Arena and are free to the public.
To keep track of all the fun weekend's activities in New Orleans, fans can sign-up for free text alerts by texting "HOOPS" to 55333. Message and data rates may apply.
AT&T is an official corporate champion of the NCAA®. For more information on how AT&T keeps sports fans connected to NCAA® athletics, please visit: http://fanzone.att.net. Visit http://www.ncaa.com/ for more information on both tournaments and the NCAA®.
NCAA, Final Four, Women's Final Four, March Madness, Bracket Town, and Tourney Town are trademarks of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
All appearances are subject to athlete and entertainment availability. Times are subject to change.
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About the NCAA The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 400,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships in Divisions I, II and III sports. Visit www.ncaa.org and www.ncaa.com for more details about the Association, its goals and members and corporate partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes. The NCAA is proud to have the following elite companies as official Corporate Champions—AT&T, Capital One and Coca-Cola—and the following elite companies as official Corporate Partners—Allstate, Buffalo Wild Wings, Buick, Enterprise, Infiniti, LG, Lowe's, Nabisco, Northwestern Mutual, Reese's (Hershey's), Unilever and UPS.
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