The 2017 NCAA Final Four is just around the corner, and fans don’t need tickets to the games to be part of the excitement.
Four fan events will run from March 31 to April 3, and all are free or cheap. Most of the major fan activities will take place in downtown Phoenix, while the games will be played in Glendale.
Know Before You Go
It’s going to be busy in downtown Phoenix and Glendale over the course of Final Four weekend, so be prepared. Get more detailed information about parking, street closures and public transportation here: phoenixfinalfour.com/parking.
Phoenix Transportation and Parking
Utilize light rail to avoid traffic and costly parking. There are 11 park-and-rides throughout the line with free parking, and an all-day pass is $4. Service will operate until 2 a.m. on March 31 and April 1, and until midnight on April 2 and 3.
Events can be accessed at these light rail stations:
- Final Four Fan Fest: Third and Washington streets (westbound).
- Final Four Fan Fest: Third and Jefferson streets (eastbound).
- March Madness Music Festival: Roosevelt Street and Central Avenue.
- March Madness Music Festival: McDowell Road and Central Avenue.
Valley Metro will have extra fare-inspection teams, the Transportation Security Administration and Phoenix Police Transit Enforcement Unit and K9 teams out and about to keep riders safe. The Arizona Diamondbacks’ season opener is Sunday, April 2 at 1:10 p.m., so plan ahead and allow plenty of time to get to your destination.
There are about 50 public and private lots throughout the downtown area, primarily between Seventh Street and Seventh Avenue, from Fillmore to Lincoln. Be advised, there is not public event parking for the March Madness Music Festival at Margaret T. Hance Park. Download the Pango app to find parking locations.
Parking meters are enforced daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and range from $1 to $1.50 an hour. Most take credit and debit cards, but there are some that are coin-operated only. Most meters closer to downtown have a maximum time limit of two hours, although some can go up to eight hours.
Glendale Transportation and Parking
Parking at the University of Phoenix Stadium costs $40-$50 for the green, orange and red lots. Fans can buy their parking passes in advance at parkingjuju.com/?event=ncaafinalfour.
Westgate Entertainment District’s lots just across the way from the stadium will start four hours before tip-off of the games. Lots 1 through 5 will cost $20 per car, while Lot Y will be $10 per vehicle starting at 11 a.m. on April 1 until tip-off, and then from 2 p.m. until tip-off on April 3. Visitors should enter north off of Glendale Avenue from 93rd or 95th Avenue. Tailgating is not permitted in the Westgate lots.
Westgate will also feature a live ESPN broadcast at Fountain Park, running from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on April 1 through the 3. Visitors can watch the action and check out the more than 20 restaurants and bars at the shopping center before and after the Final Four events.
If you don’t want to drive to University of Phoenix Stadium for the games and events there, Valley Metro is offering special bus service from the 19th Avenue/Montebello Road Transit Center in Phoenix. Service runs every 30 minutes from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, March 31, and noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday, April 1 and Monday, April 3.
Governor Doug Ducey talks about Final Four fan events that will happen in downtown Phoenix during a press conference on Jan. 25, 2017 in Phoenix. Rob Schumacher/azcentral.com
Free trolley loop
A complimentary shuttle will take guests from the Final Four Fan Fest to the March Madness Music Festival. Here are the pick-up/drop-off locations:
- Fan Fest: 2nd St & Washington Street (northwest corner)
- Music Festival: 1st Street south of Roosevelt Street
There are also a number of bike rental GridBike stops throughout downtown Phoenix, and a free bike valet service at both the Fan Fest and music festival.
Clear bag policy
This policy will be enforced for the Final Four Fan Fest, March Madness Music Festival and Final Four games. The only bags allowed into any of these events are:
- Small purses measuring 5.5-by-8.5-inches or smaller.
- Clear bags measuring 12-by-6-by-12 inches or smaller.
- One-gallon clear plastic storage bags.
Other important things to know:
- Patrons can bring one factory-sealed bottle of water that measures 16.9 ounces or less.
- Signs and flags must be 3-by-2-feet or smaller.
- Chairs, blankets, outside food and beverage, umbrellas and weapons are prohibited.
The full security policies for the Final Four games can be found at ncaa.com/finalfour.
Final Four Fan Fest
Get active and competitive on the interactive NCAA experiences that will keep kids busy for hours. Some of the activities include:
- Spirit Court: Cheerleading clinics featuring fun cheers and dance moves for all levels.
- Cartoon Network: Take the skills challenge, climb the rock wall and learn to draw with characters including Ben 10 and Teen Titans Go!
- AT&T Fan Zone: Meet current NCAA coaches, check out the latest AT&T technology and more.
- Buffalo Wild Wings Sports Lounge: This hangout area will feature a full-service bar, plenty of televisions, and a meet-and-greet with former NCAA stars.
- Buzzer Beaters: Try to beat the clock by shooting at five different locations on the court.
- Capitol One Fan Zone: This area will feature a 360-degree photo booth, a spray fan booth and digital gaming space. Participants can also win prizes by playing in the baseball, hockey, lacrosse, golf, soccer and football interactive experiences.
Visitors can also get photos of the championship trophy and pick up NCAA merchandise at the official team store.
Details: Noon-8 p.m. Friday, March 31; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, April 1; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday, April 2; noon-6 p.m. Monday, April 3. Phoenix Convention Center, Washington and Third streets. $10 for adults, free for kids 12 and younger. $5 for seniors and military with ID. $5 on Friday, Saturday and Monday, and free on Sunday for Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Grand Canyon University and Norther Arizona University students with ID. Tickets are on sale now at ncaa.com/final-four/fan-fest/overview.
March Madness Music Festival
This free music festival will feature major national and local acts. Here’s this year’s line-up so far. Other acts for Friday haven’t been announced yet.
Friday, March 31: AT&T Block Party
Saturday, April 1: Coca-Cola Music
- DJ duo The Chainsmokers
- Indie rock band Grouplove
- Pop duo Capital Cities
- Soul singer Leon Bridges
Sunday, April 2: Capital One JamFest
- Rock legends Aerosmith
- Pop-punk band Blink-182
- Hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
- Folk rock act Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
See the full security policy for the music festival here: ncaa.com/marchmadness/musicfest/faq.
Details: 4-10 p.m. Friday, March 31; 2-10:30 p.m. Saturday, April 1; 3-10 p.m. Sunday, April 2. Margaret T. Hance Park, 67 W. Culver St., Phoenix. Free. ncaa.com/marchmadness/musicfest.
Final Four Friday
Watch the Final Four teams prepare for their big games in an open practice at the University of Phoenix Stadium, featuring tributes and special programming throughout, followed by the College All-Star Game.
Details: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. practice, 3:30 p.m. College All-Star Game. Friday, March 31. University of Phoenix Stadium, Loop 101 and Glendale Avenue, Glendale. Free. ncaa.com/final-four/final-four-friday/overview.
Final Four Dribble
Kids can take part in this free event, and will be given a T-shirt and their own official NCAA basketball to dribble from Heritage Square to the Fan Fest entrance at the Phoenix Convention Center. Registration is now closed to participants. Spectators are welcome to come watch.
Details: 11 a.m. Sunday, April 2. Heritage Square, 113 N. Sixth St., Phoenix. ncaa.com/final-four/final-four-dribble.
The pre-game festival features skills and shooting challenges, music acts and other performances, pep rallies, Southwestern food, beer gardens and interactive displays. The event is free and open to the public on Friday only. On Saturday and Monday, only Final Four ticket-holders can attend.
Details: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday, March 31. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 1. 2-5:30 p.m. Monday, April 3. The Great Lawn, University of Phoenix Stadium, Loop 101 and Glendale Avenue, Glendale. Free and open to the public on Friday. Open to Final Four ticket-holders only on Saturday and Monday. ncaa.com/final-four/tip-off-tailgate.
NCAA Final Four details: ncaa.com/final-four
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