I'm on vacation from politics and covering the ACC tourney in Tampa. Nice, I know. Anywho, doing a different blog for that so here's the latest entry if you're interested. Haven't seen any politicians yet, but will keep you posted! By the way the local stations here in Tampa did a story last night about a big speech from the Republican Governor and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle praised it. Weird, I know! Thought you'd like to hear that one.
It's 6:00pm and it's 72 degrees. Slap me now, I know! What a truly marvelous and amazing weather day here in Tampa, Florida. I'll be honest though, if you took away the warm weather, palm trees, and ACC Tournament it's really not that great of a work trip. Okay slap me again!
We're here and it's a pretty good set up. All you hear about from anyone and everyone is the weather. This is clearly one huge vacation for the fans that are coming.
Let's get right to the juice though shall we? I am dumbfounded by all the people selling books and books of tickets out front. Never have I seen books for sale at the end when teams are losing and leaving let alone at the very beginning of the tournament. A scalper out front told me an NC State alum sold him 40 books of tickets! He had a hundred in his pocket and I know because I saw the books myself. We talked to another guy who had two books and had a last minute issue and couldn't use the tickets he bought. He says he's likely going to sell them for less than face value!!! What makes it even worse for these guys is scalping is legal in Florida!
This is the first time ever for the ACC tournament in Florida. Tampa officials held a special press conference with the ACC commissioner. I'm told by ACC officials no other venue has done that. Both sets of officials are playing up the venue. Swofford says it was necessary to be fair to other schools to move the tourney around especially now with two teams in Florida. It's key they want to push the ACC in Florida for recruiting and tv markets which may still be related to the football issue and expanding the ACC.
The problem is when the tourney is closer to North Carolina, fans from teams that win will drive and pick up tickets from fans of teams that lose. Problem is, it took us 10 hours to drive here and a flight isn't short or cheap and hotels and everything is expensive here. Will there actually be open seats at an ACC basketball tournament final? Wow are ACC officials a little nervous and while everyone is putting on a happy face, I can tell you first hand there are plenty of tickets to be had and the scalpers say they expect it to remain that way.