DALLAS, March 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As brackets slim down to the top teams, thousands of fans will be flocking to Houston and Indianapolis for the 2011 NCAA Men's and Women's Final Four. Off the court, AT&T* will supply the action with its entertainment lineup and full court press of activities.
Happenings in Houston
Fans can take a trip to Bracket Town™ Refreshed by Coca-Cola Zero™ at the George R. Brown Convention Center today, Thursday, March 31, through Monday, April 4. There, guests can test the latest AT&T products and services, including the Motorola ATRIX™ 4G, compete against fellow fans in hoops-related games and meet coaches Friday through Sunday. On Monday, AT&T will host an athlete autograph session with college basketball legends including Clyde Drexler at 12:30 p.m. CT and Kenny Smith at 2:15 p.m. CT.
Eight top-ranked athletes from the World Freerunning and Parkour Federation, including Tim "Livewire" Shieff and Ryan Doyle, will perform in Center Court on Saturday, April 2, 1–1:45 p.m. CT. Using obstacles, the Parkour athletes, along with additional athletes, will perform stunts and tricks, including flying and jumping across the court in the largest ever live Parkour performance. After the performance, the Parkour and Freerunning athletes will be available for a meet and greet with fans between 2–2:30 p.m. CT.
On Final Four Friday®, April 1 at 4 p.m. CT, AT&T will kick off The Big Dance® Concert Series – the NCAA's free three-day music and entertainment festival, which will be held at Discovery Green Park in downtown Houston – with the AT&T Block Party.
Spectators will get an exclusive look at the finalists in the running for the 2011 Naismith Men's College Player of the Year Award presented by AT&T. College basketball experts including Pete Gillen will discuss each contender, play highlight reels and interview the finalists on stage at 6:15 p.m. CT.
At 7 p.m. CT, opening act The Hold Steady, who released the "vital piece of wizened wisdom" (Village Voice) 'Heaven Is Whenever' (Vagrant) last year, will get the party started. The Brooklyn-based indie rock band formed in 2004, with vocalist Craig Finn, lead guitarist Tad Kubler, bassist Galen Polivka, drummer Bobby Drake. Information on The Hold Steady can be found at: http://theholdsteady.net/.
Alternative/ska-punk band Sublime with Rome will hit the main stage at 9 p.m. CT. Sublime with Rome features drummer Bud Gaugh and bass player Eric Wilson alongside gifted singer/guitarist Rome. Founded in Long Beach, Calif., by Gaugh, Wilson, and original vocalist/guitarist Bradley Nowell in 1988, Sublime was without question one of the most successful and influential ska-punk bands of all time, with over 17 million albums sold worldwide fueled by such radio hits as "Santeria," and the chart-topping "What I Got," which still garner constant radio airplay today. Twenty-two year-old Rome scored a chart topping hit of his own last year, co-writing and performing on the Dirty Heads' No. 1 single "Lay Me Down." Sublime with Rome are currently in the studio working on their highly anticipated debut album, due out this summer on Fueled By Ramen. More information on Sublime with Rome is available at: http://www.sublimewithrome.com/.
On Sunday, the Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T, will be presented to the Men's College Basketball Player of the Year at the NABC Guardians of the Game Awards Show. Fans of college basketball have the unique opportunity to help determine which talented star will take home the prestigious trophy with the fan vote accounting for 25 percent of the final tally. To be a part of basketball history, AT&T wireless customers and basketball fans on all participating wireless networks can vote for the winner of the Naismith Trophy by texting** VOTE to 345345 before 11:59 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 2, 2011. Fans are allowed one vote per wireless number.
Hooked Up in Houston: AT&T Mobile Broadband Experience
In The Big Dance festival area, fans can also charge up and wind down at the AT&T Fan Zone, where they can enjoy the latest wireless technology and basketball-themed games. To find out tips on games, performances and more, check in on foursquare at the AT&T Fan Zone at Bracket Town, AT&T Fan Zone at The Big Dance, AT&T Block Party, AT&T Presents Parkour at Center Court and AT&T at Final Four Friday areas.
By checking in and following the AT&T foursquare page, guests will receive the latest Final Four news and potentially unlock special deals. Learn more at http://foursquare.com/attfanzone. To get the latest news via SMS text messaging, text** HOOPS to 88222.
To keep fans connected, AT&T Wi-Fi will be available for attendees to connect at Discovery Green Park during the AT&T Block Party and The Big Dance Concert Series. Spectators can log onto AT&T Wi-Fi from their smartphones and other Wi-Fi enabled devices to enhance their Final Four experience by checking tournament stats and updates or posting pictures of their favorite performers on social networking sites. AT&T customers with qualifying AT&T smartphones, LaptopConnect and high speed Internet plans can access AT&T Wi-Fi at no additional charge. For more information on how to connect to AT&T Wi-Fi, visit AT&T Wi-Fi Access.
Additionally supporting fans' ability to stay connected, in 2010, AT&T increased wireless capacity by an additional 50 percent on more than 350 cell sites in the Houston area, upgraded 60 more cell sites to mobile broadband and installed five new cell sites. AT&T is also deploying temporary cell sites around Reliant Stadium and Discovery Green and continues to install distributed antenna systems in several targeted venues to handle increased traffic.
"We're excited to give college basketball fans the courtside experience," said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. "We're providing plenty of great entertainment and interactive activities to help fans get engaged with the game, whether you're experiencing it firsthand at the Men's and Women's Final Four, or if you're rooting for your favorite team from home or on-the-go."
Intensity in Indianapolis
The Women's Final Four hits the Hoosier state from Friday, April 1 through Tuesday, April 5, and AT&T has fans in the heart of it all. At Tourney Town™ Refreshed by Coca-Cola Zero™ in the Indiana Convention Center, guests can get autographs from their favorite team members and coaches, experience the latest AT&T offerings and participate in games, contests, giveaways and more at the AT&T Fan Zone area.
At the Mascot Challenge in Tourney Town on Sunday, April 3 at 1:30 p.m. ET, watch the Martin Luther King Community Center Youth Empowerment Program square off against each other with the help of college team mascots. The winning team will get a donation for their club and the mascot will receive a check for its school, all from AT&T.
The Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T will be awarded to the Women's College Basketball Player of the Year at the 2011 WBCA Awards Show on Monday, April 4 at 6 p.m. ET.
AT&T will also deploy additional network support in Indianapolis, including a cell on wheels, to help increase coverage and capacity for fans attending the games. To get the latest news via SMS text messaging, text** INFO to 88222.
All appearances are subject to athlete and entertainment availability. Times are subject to change.
* AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.
** Standard text messaging rates apply.
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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—Buick, Enterprise, The Hartford, Infiniti, LG, Lowe's, Planters, Reese's, Unilever and UPS.
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