TAMPA, Fla. — This is the third time Tampa has hosted the Women's Final Four, and the city, along with the NCAA, has pulled out all the stops so that fans and community members can enjoy the big weekend wherever they are.
Curtis Hixon Park was transformed for the day into a sports playground for kids.
Local mom Lindsey Goodman was thrilled with all the entertainment options.
"Oh my gosh, we were so excited. I think it’s just like amazing for the city of Tampa to have something that’s catered towards children," she said. "Basketball is huge, to have the Final Four here, I mean everybody was super excited.”
Her son Mahkai was loving all the activities, as well as the college games. He was taking part in Bounce, an event where 2,000 kids tried to dribble from the park to Tourney Town, a free festival at the Tampa Convention Center.
It was good practice for aspiring college athletes like Mahkai, who was also excited to see the games.
“I think the games are really cool because since I'm a basketball player it actually helps me get better watching girls play so I really like that," he said.
The whole weekend puts a sports spotlight on Tampa that also comes with economic benefits as Gov. Ron DeSantis explained.
"The economic impact I think is more than $20 million for the area and it will be more than $25 million. That's a huge deal. It's really great for Florida and the Tampa Bay area. So I'm really excited.”
Regardless of the outcome of Sunday's game, the Women’s Final Four was a win for anyone trying to make a family memory out of the experience.
Ace Austin hopes to one day play college basketball. She and her parents made the trip from Alabama.
“When she watches those girls, the effort that they give and the teamwork, all the excitement and the energy, she learns something every time she watches them,” said Dana Austin, Ace’s mom.
Andre Paund brought his daughter Ka'lyn to the big dance.
Paund said he wanted to make memories with his youngest daughter but also build on her love of basketball.
“I wanted to show her the best competition at the highest level,” he added.
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