JB: Lawrence is always a great place during tournament time. There were 8,000 people in Allen Fieldhouse who showed up to welcome the team home at 1 AM – that tells you the passion our fans have for the basketball program! The Jayhawks have been to 23 straight NCAA Men’s basketball tournaments, so we’ve gotten used to the enormous fun and excitement during college basketball’s post season this time of the year.
JF: What were you doing this past weekend? Were you down in St. Louis at the games?
JB: I was in St. Louis for the games as IMG College, which represents multimedia rights, licensing, and sponsorship sales for KU, had several clients there. The best part about going to the tournament games is the great pep rally events the athletic department and our alumni association put on prior to each game. It is a great gathering place for fans and sponsors, and you always run into old friends you haven’t see for a while.
JF: Kansas last won the National Championship in 2008 down in San Antonio, how does this run compare so far?
JB: That was my first year coming back to Kansas as the General Manager for IMG College. Between the Orange Bowl victory and the basketball National Championship it was a pretty memorable first year. I think what has been special about this year’s tournament is the job our coaching staff has done to get everyone to buy into the team concept. We lost so many guys to the NBA last year that from a fan perspective the expectations might have been a little lower (although expectations are always high here), so it has been really fun watching this team grow and gel together. I also think it has been fun with the first two locations being in Omaha and St. Louis where so many of our fans could be a part of it.
JF: We’ve seen a majority of tickets purchased on StubHub this week come from the state of Kentucky (37%). Do you expect to see a lot of Kansas fans travel down to New Orleans or will the Big Easy be completely covered by Big Blue Nation?
JB: With Louisville and Kentucky both being in the tournament that would make sense, but I promise you there will be a large contingent of KU fans. We have one of the best fan bases in the country and we will be well represented. Just to show how passionate and loyal Jayhawks fans are, the school was recently voted the winner of the inaugural Naismith Student Section of the Year Award.
JF: The Big 12 is undergoing some pretty significant changes next year as Missouri departs for the SEC. How do you think losing the Border War will affect the ticket demand going into next season?
JB: I don’t think it will impact ticket demand in Allen Fieldhouse at all because it is always pretty high. Certainly with what could have been the last game of the series with Missouri taking place in Allen Feldhouse it was a tough ticket, but overall demand is always high to get into Allen.
JF: Will you be going to the Final Four?
JB: I will be going down to the Final Four tomorrow as we have several clients going down. It is a great place to network and promote the Jayhawk brand to current and potential customers. Rock Chalk!
JF: Any predictions for next weekend?
JB: I’d never want to jinx things with a prediction. I will say that IMG College represents all four school teams playing in the Final Four this weekend…but I am no doubt pulling for the Jayhawks.