March Madness in the Mile High City
It’s March Madness and that means office pools, bracketology, betting and clutch decisions on where (and how) to view the onslaught of incredible college basketball games.
This year, six games in the men’s Division I NCAA basketball tournament will take place in front of sold-out crowds at Ball Arena in Denver, four on Friday, March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day) with the two remaining games being played on Sunday, March 19.
There are countless angles to the excitement and attention the games bring and that includes business. According to Matthew Payne, executive director of Denver Sports Commission, Denver could expect up to $8 million in economic impact as the road to the Final Four rolls through the Mile High City. From entertaining clients to pitching prospects, a lot of deals are made at sporting events but waiting until game time is no way to prepare. The tips below are intended to help participants maximize their experience.
Tickets: Up Close & Personal or Lounge in Luxury?
Tickets went on sale back in October, and the best locations start around $300 per seat and increase to nearly $3,000 for a pair of courtside spots if you go with a reseller.
If you’re hosting for business purposes, you’ll have to choose whether or not you want to be up close and personal or take a group approach and consider suite options. Suites are set farther back from the action and don’t capture the thrills of the game the same way, but they offer a luxurious lounge-like environment with wait staff who will bring you what you need so you can focus on your guests.
In looking at a mix of online ticket purchasing platforms, from Ticketmaster to Stubhub to Vivid Seats, there really isn’t a cost saving to buying early. The primary advantage though will be locking up the best seat locations and to start planning on who you’d like to invite. The type of experience you’re looking to have will help you determine where you’ll want to sit.
Tips to Maximize the In-Person Experience in Denver
Now that you have tickets, it’s time to factor in the Three Ws: Weather, Walking and Waiting.
You’ll want to arrive early. Aim to roll up to the arena about two hours before tipoff, especially if you’re meeting someone. This will help account for traffic, inching along I-25 or Auraria Parkway, or simply the unexpected. However, Ball Arena doors won’t open until one hour before tipoff. But by positioning yourself to be near the front of the line, you’ll be one of the first in the door and that allows you to get settled in and watch warm-ups if you’d like. Chances are, there will be some future NBA stars acclimating to our altitude. Imagine watching Jamal Murray when he was at the University of Kentucky before anyone really knew who he was. Your ticket entitles you to entrance and there’s no downside to arriving early.
The first game in Denver begins at 11:30am on March 17, 2023 (St. Patty’s Day) and while things can look clear and sunny, a 34-degree morning might chill your March Madness high. Take that into account as to where you park, and the walk that will entail. In Denver, it’s often worth it to pay more and park closer to get things started on the right foot.
The Art of the View Party
If attending in person isn’t in your plans (or your budget) there are some incredible spots around the Denver Metro area to get your March Madness on, but our favorite, hands down is The Basketball Social House in Centennial. What might appear to be an unassuming shopping center is home to one of the most exciting, start-ups in the world of food, fun and basketball. This unique sports and entertainment venue features custom courts, private suites, and digital games, plus a gourmet kitchen, full bar and drinkery, and upscale social lounge. [Read more on our take and why The Basketball Social House is a Slam Dunk for Athletes, Families and Investors.]
Other great Denver-area spots to watch the NCAA tournament include:
- Woodie Fisher (ColoradoBiz reader’s choice for Best Restaurant Patio)
- Slater’s 50/50 (ColoradoBiz reader’s choice for Best Sports Bar)
- The Red Barber (ColoradoBiz reader’s choice for Best Restaurant View)
And if you’re from out of town and looking for a place to stay, we’d recommend either of ColoradoBiz’s Best of Colorado award-winning hotels, the Catbird located in Denver’s River North (RiNo) for the best business hotel experience, or the Broadmoor, best hotel for leisure, in Colorado Springs if you’re willing to drive a little bit.
Check out all of ColoradoBiz’s Best of Colorado businesses award winners including the best in lifestyle, health, lodging, food, beverage (and more.)
And if you’re too late this year, don’t worry, Denver is expected to go mad again in 2025, and no, it isn’t too early to begin planning.