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80,000 visitors expected to descend on metro Phoenix for NCAA Final Four

The NCAA Final Four is coming to Glendale this weekend, and Arizona law enforcement officials say they are working to ensure a safe and secure environment for the event. 

Agencies involved include local police and fire departments, Arizona Department of Public Safety, the FBI, and Homeland Security.

“I can assure you this is just the tip of the iceberg right here, there are so many agencies involved that have been planning for months and months, we are ready to roll out the red carpet here in Arizona and have a safe and secure event," said Jay Parry, the Men’s Final Four Host Committee president.

The last Final Four held in Phoenix back in 2017 drew about 80,000 visitors. Officials expect a similar turnout for this year’s tournament.

Festivities for the event will commence Thursday, ahead of the first game on Saturday at State Farm Stadium, with North Carolina State battling Purdue at 3:09 p.m., followed by the matchup between the University of Alabama and the University of Connecticut. The winners will face off Monday in the national championship.

Free open practices

People without tickets to the games can still participate in the action this weekend. The NCAA is hosting low-cost and free events through Monday night.

The men’s Final Four Fan Fest begins Friday and includes interactive games for kids, celebrity appearances and autograph signings. The event is interactive, similar to NFL events that happen at the Phoenix Convention Center.

The Reese’s Men’s Final Four Friday, featuring open practices for the four teams competing and the NABC All-Star Game, is a free event taking place at State Farm Stadium. Doors open at 10 a.m., and the first team starts practice at 11 a.m. Each team will hold a 50-minute workout that is open to the public. The All-Star Game tips off at 3:30 p.m.

The Men’s Final Four Tip-Off Tailgate will take place Friday, Saturday and Monday outside State Farm Stadium, in addition to the weekend-long March Madness Music Festival at Margaret T. Hance Park, where Zedd, the Jonas Brothers and Mumford & Sons are expected to perform.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to an editing error, this story has been updated to reflect that 80,000 visitors are expected for the events. 

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Jacob Suever joined KJZZ as an intern in January 2024. Suever is currently studying for his bachelor’s degree in sports journalism at Arizona State University. Previously, Suever has interned with PBS NewsHour West as a production intern, as well as with the San Francisco Giants as a scoreboard operator.Suever is currently the broadcast director and play-by-play voice for Phoenix College Athletics, and is aiming to broadcast more than 60 baseball and basketball games this season. Suever, an Atlanta native, has a huge passion for radio broadcasting. He says his inspiration throughout his childhood and early college career has been Steve Holman, radio voice of the Atlanta Hawks.Outside of the arena, Suever is also passionate about his community, and understands the importance that local news can play on the well-being, safety and health of a population.Growing up, Suever had a very unique educational experience. Suever transitioned from Atlanta Public Schools at the elementary level to attend the prestigious Ron Clark Academy, a school that gave Suever the ability to see the world in a different way. By age 14, Suever had traveled to more than 20 states, to five countries and to three continents. To this day, Suever employs some of the techniques he learned in middle school to communicate and connect with others around the globe.Suever hopes to use his opportunity with KJZZ to continue to expand his knowledge as a reporter and use his stories to make a positive impact in the community.