I started seeing the complaints around Friday on Twitter. It seems the national media (specifically college basketball writers) aren’t big fans of the way Houston handled hosting the Final Four, which wrapped up Monday night with the national championship game.
I asked a couple of writers what the issue with Houston was. The answer I received listed a variety of issues; too hot and humid, far too spread out, things close too early, and not enough to do around Reliant Stadium.
In my mind, one thing you always need to do when you visit a new city is to use some sort of basic travel guide, or at least ask around. I find a lot of those issues to be way overblown. Even though we may love Houston, it’s obvious not Miami, San Diego, or a resort town. You can’t just show up and expect to have a good time by default.
Why is the heat a bad thing? A lot of the media was coming from the Midwest/Northeast, which has had a terrible winter (I got a text from my sister this week saying it was snowing in New York). What’s wrong with a couple of days of 80-plus degree weather? I certainly enjoyed myself out at the Shell Houston Open on both Thursday and Friday.
In terms of Houston being spread out, this is another “travel guide” scenario. Anyone who knows Houston realizes that fact, and adjusts accordingly. It’s not Indianapolis or San Antonio, where everything you need is located within a couple of blocks. Having said that, downtown is only about 8 miles away from Reliant Stadium; compare that to Dallas, where Vandermeer and Lopez and myself had to drive thirty-plus minutes to go from downtown to Cowboys Stadium.
I will give the media one thing: it was clearly a mistake to put them at the hotel near Reliant Stadium. If you’re the organizing committee, there are two good options here: put the media either downtown or near the Galleria mall. Then, they could walk around to find restaurants, bars, and other places of necessity. Everyone knows there’s nothing to do around Reliant, because it’s a football stadium!