Posts Tagged ‘march madness’

Break Down Your Bracket with Bob Knight

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013



Legendary NCAA coach Bob Knight will be helping a small group of fans fill out their March Madness bracket on Monday, March 18 in New York City, and you can be one of them! Knight, a two-time NCAA champion coach at Indiana University, will meet and take photos with fans during this two hour exclusive event hosted by Steiner Sports at the Grand Hyatt (109 E. 42nd St, New York) starting at 7:00 PM.

To reserve your spot while they still remain, click on the Buy Now button below!

Experience includes

  • One (1) ticket to the Coach Knight bracket and beer event
  • One (1) Bob Knight signed basketball
  • Photo op with Bob Knight

Cost: $250

 

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For more information, please contact Jared Cooper at (646) 397-5350 or Jared.Cooper@SPWtravel.com.

The purchase of these packages is subject to the following Terms and Conditions, which can be found here.

SPW in Review: Charlotte, March 20-21

Monday, March 28th, 2011



img_0895Until last week, my only trip to North Carolina had been during an ambitious Sports Power Weekend drive from New York to Durham for a Duke basketball game at Cameron Indoor Stadium against Michigan. It was only fitting then when I decided to make my second trip to North Carolina for another Duke-Michigan game; this time in Charlotte at Time Warner Cable Arena for an NCAA Tournament Game. Being that the NCAA Tourney doubleheader was on a Sunday, I decided to stay through Monday to explore the city a bit, giving me a nice taste of what Charlotte was all about. I was not disappointed.

The Queen City isn’t necessarily a must-visit destination. It doesn’t really have a defining attraction or an attribute that separates it from other cities in the south or east coast, but that doesn’t really hold it back. It is a quaint city that is very walkable and easy to navigate. Being as focused on sports as I am, naturally I was interested in checking out the Time Warner Cable Arena – home of the Charlotte Bobcats, Bank of America Stadium – the Carolina Panthers’ stadium, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame. I came away impressed by all three and convinced that Charlotte is a desirable stop for an SPW over a Panthers home weekend, particularly when coinciding either with a Bobcats game, or even a Duke or UNC game two and a half hours away in Durham or Chapel Hill. It is actually often overlooked how close Charlotte is to Columbia, South Carolina. It is only an hour and a half, making an SEC-NFL combo weekend very possible.

img_0863I flew in to Charlotte bright and early, giving me some time to get some breakfast and walk around prior to the UNC-Washington 12:15 PM tip-off at TWC Arena. The airport is massive but incredible clean and well kept, providing a nice welcome to the city. More importantly, it is only about 15-20 minutes from Uptown – an odd moniker for their downtown area – and the ride is a flat $25. We passed up on the Queen City Diner to check out Harvest Moon Grille, a farm to table restaurant connected to the Dunhill Hotel. The food was fresh and fantastic, and two of the people I was with said it was some of the best bacon they had ever tasted. After breakfast we walked on over to the arena for the NCAA doubleheader featuring UNC-Washington followed by Duke-Michigan. TWC Arena is accessible, modern and clean, and overall very impressive. It reminded me a bit of walking into The Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. It has tall, wide concourses, plenty of concessions with locally popular foods, and an open feel once you are in the court area. Being that the two local darlings – UNC and Duke – were playing, the crowd was full of powder and royal blues. It was a treat that both games came down to one shot as time expired; there isn’t much more a crowd can ask for than that. As expected, Duke and UNC were victorious, leaving the locals happy and the traveling fans from Michigan and Washington dismayed, but entertained. We went for a drink at one of the handful of Irish pubs a couple of blocks from the arena before heading back to the Courtyard Marriott, a good hotel well situated in the heart of Uptown.

A good area to head to at night is the recently built EpiCentre, a hub of restaurants, bars, and entertainment situated around an open-air pavilion. It is about a five-minute walk from the Courtyard, as well as Time Warner Cable Arena. They have a handful of restaurants, both chain and otherwise, as well as a number of bars, a bowling alley called Strike City, and the post EpiCentre Theatres, a movie theatre situated in a nightlife setting with a restaurant and bar.

img_0908Monday I spent a lot of time walking around the city and exploring the streets. I noticed a lot of young professionals, likely involved in banking since that is so heavily ingrained in the fabric of the city’s industry. You can probably cover most of the city in an afternoon walking around, but in addition to seeing the streets, I wanted to check out the stadium and NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Bank of America Stadium is a nearly 74,000-seat stadium that opened in 1996 in uptown Charlotte. It took about 15 minutes to walk from my hotel to the stadium, making staying in uptown ideal for a Panthers weekend. I don’t think I can stress how rare it is to be able to stay in a city and walk to both their basketball arena and football stadium with ease. The stadium itself was nice and clean, with a modern-looking façade. Having not gone into the stadium – they were not offering tours on Monday – I can’t speak on the interior. The grounds surrounding the stadium are well kept and green; you can easily envision that in September and October before the weather turns a bit this is just a great place to be on a Sunday for a game.

Walking from the stadium to the NASCAR Hall of Fame was once again a short 15-minute walk through town. On the way you can pass by the Levine Center of the Arts, a very upscale block consisting of cultural destinations such as the Mint Museum Uptown, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, and the John S. and James L. Knight Theater. This was formerly named the Wells Fargo Cultural Campus until the $83 million private endowment campaign to support new and renovated cultural facilities reached its goal on a generous gift from the Leon Levine Foundation.

img_0920Upon arriving at the NASCAR Hall of Fame I was blown away by how contemporary the exterior and Ceremonial Plaza itself were. The four-level Hall is a bit steep as far as entrance cost at $20 for an adult, but it does provide some good entertainment. There are exhibits such as Glory Road, which showcases 18 historic cars from legends like Dale Earnhardt and recent stars like Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, the Hall of Honor, where Hall of Fame inductees are enshrined, and Race Week, an interactive area that provides a behind-the-scenes look at preparing and running on race day. The fact that it is connected to a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant offers another reason to be there on the day of a big event.

I didn’t make the trip to Charlotte Motor Speedway, a short ride from uptown, but I did make it to Mac’s Speed Shop, a BBQ joint with a location in the South End, just two miles or so from uptown. The South End itself, though more spread out, has some bars and restaurants that make it an attractive place for a night out. Mac’s serves hefty portions of some top notch BBQ, and somewhat contrary to its biker bar mentality has a nice patio area with picnic tables for outdoor eating. Overall, a good spot to hit on a nice night.

Ultimately, I would deem my two days in Charlotte to be a success, and I think that is the perfect amount of time to be in the city. That coincides perfectly with a Saturday and Sunday visit for a Sports Power Weekend; it fits well within the SPW motif when you can knock out multiple sporting events and see everything a city has to offer over the course of the weekend. The people are nice and the place is welcoming, making Charlotte a definite Sports Power Weekend destination.

Top Sports Power Weekends: March 17-20

Thursday, March 17th, 2011



The NCAA Tournament is finally here! Not only do eight cities get the enviable task of hosting first weekend March Madness action, but in many cases those cities also have games in other sports on the docket as well. The NBA and NHL are in their final month, Spring Training is in its final weeks, and now the MLS is underway. This feels like the first weekend of the spring, and it brings a smile to my face.

I present to you the 10 best Sports Power Weekends of March 17-20. To purchase a Sports Power Weekend package, please contact us at info@SPWtravel.com.

1.     Tucson

Thursday
  • NCAA Tournament Round of 64

o   Temple vs. Penn State (2:10 PM)

o   SDSU vs. Northern Colorado

o   Wisconsin vs. Belmont (7:27 PM)

o   Kansas St. vs. Utah St.

  • Spring Training
Friday
  • Golden State Warriors at Phoenix Suns
  • Spring Training
Saturday
  • NCAA Tournament Round of 32
  • Spring Training
Sunday
  • Chicago Blackhawks at Phoenix Coyotes
  • Spring Training

Tucson, home of the Arizona Wildcats, is a two-hour ride to the Phoenix area where Cactus League baseball action is taking place, but with Friday and Sunday free this weekend offers a great opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. NCAA Tournament games on Thursday and Saturday and Spring Training on Friday or Sunday; what could be better?

2.     Washington, D.C.

Thursday
  • NCAA Tournament Round of 64

o   Butler vs. Old Dominion (12:40 PM)

o   Pittsburgh vs. UNC Asheville

o   UConn vs. Bucknell (7:20 PM)

o   Cincinnati vs. Missouri

Friday
Saturday
  • NCAA Tournament Round of 32
  • Columbus Crew at DC United
Sunday
  • New Jersey Nets at Washington Wizards

The Verizon Center will show off its stuff this weekend with Thursday and Saturday NCAA Tournament action and a Washington Wizards game on Saturday. The first pick of the 2010 NBA Draft, no stranger to NCAA Tournament action, will be on display as the New Jersey Nets come to town to face John Wall’s Wizards squad.

Also see: Washington, D.C. City Guide

3.     Tampa

Thursday
  • NCAA Tournament Round of 64

o   West Virginia vs. Clemson (12:15 PM)

o   Kentucky vs. Princeton

o   Florida vs. UC-Santa Barbara (6:50 PM)

o   UCLA vs. Michigan State

  • Spring Training
  • PGA Transitions Championship
Friday
  • Denver Nuggets at Orlando Magic
  • Spring Training
  • PGA Transitions Championship
Saturday
  • NCAA Tournament Round of 32
  • Spring Training
  • PGA Transitions Championship
Sunday
  • Spring Training
  • PGA Transitions Championship

This weekend is similar to the Tucson weekend in that off days can be spent attending Spring Training, in this case Grapefruit League. It differs in that the New York Yankees are only 15 minutes from the St. Pete Times Forum, and driving to Orlando for the Magic game would take about and hour and a half. Additionally, the Transitions Championship is being held in Palm Harbor, just outside of Tampa. NCAA Tournament, Spring Training and the final round of a PGA event might be the best offering of the weekend.

4.     Los Angeles

Friday
  • Timberwolves at Lakers
Saturday
  • Cavs at Clippers
  • Ducks at Kings
  • Sporting KC at Chivas USA
Sunday
  • Trail Blazers at Lakers
  • Suns at Clippers
  • Revolution at Galaxy

The Lakers and the Blakers are both home twice – including a Staples Center doubleheader on Sunday – and the MLS Galaxy and Chivas USA have first weekend home dates as well. As we approach spring this becomes one of the remaining weekends where we can all appreciate the LA weather.

Also see: Los Angeles City Guide

5.     Denver

Thursday
  • NCAA Tournament Round of 64

o   Louisville vs. Morehead St (1:40 PM)

o   Vanderbilt vs. Richmond

o   BYU vs. Wofford (7:15 PM)

o   St. John’s vs. Gonzaga

Friday
  • Portland Timbers at Colorado Rapids
Saturday
  • NCAA Tournament Round of 32
Sunday

Denver is the last of the Thursday & Saturday sites, offering some action in the Pepsi Center. Friday features an MLS debut, as the Portland Timbers play their first-ever game against the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in nearby Commerce City.

6.     Chicago

Friday
  • NCAA Tournament Round of 64

o   Notre Dame vs. Akron (1:40 PM)

o   Texas A&M vs. Florida St.

o   Purdue vs. St. Peter’s (7:20 PM)

o   Georgetown vs. VCU

Saturday
Sunday
  • NCAA Tournament Round of 32


There may not be any sporting events in Chicago aside from the Tournament at the United Center, but it is Chicago. There is no shortage of things to do here. Even without additional games this is one of the best sites in the first two rounds.

Also see: Chicago City Guide

7.     Cleveland

Friday
  • NCAA Tournament Round of 64

o   George Mason vs. Villanova (2:10 PM)

o   Ohio St. vs. UTSA/Alabama St. winner

o   Xavier vs. Marquette (7:27 PM)

o   Syracuse vs. Indiana St.

Saturday
Sunday
  • NCAA Tournament Round of 32
  • New Jersey Nets at Columbus Blue Jackets

A week after the MAC Tournament, Quicken Loans Arena is read once again for its close-up. Sunday features a Blue Jackets game in Columbus, two and a half hours from Cleveland, so staying in town and enjoying the games is probably your best bet.

8.     Charlotte

Friday
  • NCAA Tournament Round of 64

o   Michigan vs. Tennessee (12:40 PM)

o   Duke vs. Hampton

o   North Carolina vs. Long Island (7:15 PM)

o   Washington vs. Georgia

  • New York Islanders at Carolina Hurricanes
Saturday
Sunday
  • NCAA Tournament Round of 32

Similar to Cleveland, the hockey game is probably too far away to make it worth your while, but staying in Charlotte is no consolation prize. While in town check out the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Saturday on the Tournament off day.

9.     Tulsa

Friday
  • NCAA Tournament Round of 64

o   Texas vs. Oakland (12:15 PM)

o   Arizona vs. Memphis

o   Kansas vs. BU (6:50 PM)

o   UNLV vs. Illinois

  • Charlotte Bobcats at Oklahoma City Thunder
Saturday
Sunday
  • NCAA Tournament Round of 32
  • Toronto Raptors at Oklahoma City Thunder

Tulsa is situated an hour and 45 minutes northeast of Oklahoma City, so it is feasible to check out the state capital and the state’s most influential person. No, not the governor; I’m taking about Kevin Durant. Check out the Thunder if possible to see one of the game’s brightest stars in person.

10. Vancouver

Friday
  • Coyotes at Canucks
Saturday
  • Toronto FC at Whitecaps
Sunday

The Vancouver Whitecaps play their first-ever MLS game as they host Toronto FC at Empire Field. With Portland entering the MLS and the Seattle Sounders already one of the most successful teams from a fan perspective, the Pacific Northwest rivalry will be very heated an intense between those three teams. Fans will get their first glimpse on Saturday following a Canucks home game against Phoenix on Friday.

March Madness the perfect opportunity for a Sports Power Weekend

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011



What is so great about the NCAA Tournament – besides everything – is that with the games slated for particular times on either Thursday and Saturday, or Friday and Sunday, fans can plan their weekends and budget their time accordingly. Also great is the one-day gap in games that allows the fan to explore the city they are in, and even see another sporting event or two if time permits.

For this reason, the NCAA Tournament (with the conference tournaments bundled in) is the greatest event on the calendar for a Sports Power Weekend. Check out the tournament sites below with the dates of the NCAA Tournament games being played, as well as any other sporting event that can be attended on the same weekend.

To customize a Sports Power Weekends package to any of these sites, contact info@SPWtravel.com for pricing and options.

April 2-4 (Final Four and National Title Game)

Houston Friday
  • San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets
  • Reese’s College All-Star Game
  • PGA Shell Houston Open
Saturday
  • Final Four
  • PGA Shell Houston Open
Sunday
  • Atlanta Hawks at Houston Rockets
  • PGA Shell Houston Open
Monday
  • National Title Game

Houston officials and schedule-makers did a great job bringing in the Shell Houston Open this weekend, as well as having two Rockets games in between the Final Four and Title Game at Reliant Stadium. This is a Sports Power Weekend option that not only offers a tent-pole event in the Final Four, but also a fun spectator event like a PGA Tournament, and two NBA games for the basketball nuts.