My experience attending the First Four media availability and open practices at the University of Dayton Arena was absolutely amazing.
We are all students in a sports media class in the Sport Management program at the University of Dayton, and the site visit was designed to show us how the media works during a major sporting event. When we began our tour of the space reserved for the media, I first noticed how much extra signage was posted around the facility to switch the setup of the arena from UD basketball to the NCAA tournament. As we moved closer to the UD football and basketball locker rooms, I wondered how the facilities team was going to transform this space.
They did incredible work. The main football locker room had become a full-blown media hub with tables, extension cords and information packets for everyone to use to write their pregame and postgame stories. Snacks and beverages were available as well.
We next went into the press conference area where we were able to sit down and listen to the pregame press conference with two players from the USC basketball team and USC head coach Andy Enfield. To sit in on the conference was a huge learning experience and truly showed how professional and courteous a majority of the reporters are — I say a majority of them because we were only able to witness a few smaller news outlets asking questions at that time. Many of the larger outlets would be arriving later.
After the press conferences, we moved to the main court where we were able to sit on press row and watch some of the teams utilize their court time and practice for their upcoming games. It was a great experience having a front row seat to March Madness, and I hope to be able to attend more events like this in the future.