Lots of our peeps have been asking how we got tix to the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament this year, so here's a quick tutorial. Warning: if you want to buy tix at face value, you need to start planning NOW.
At the conclusion of the 2008 Final Four, I used this site to track which cities hosted rounds for 2009 (the link now includes the 2010 tourney sites) since the list of cities changes every year. I decided to try to get seats for U of Dayton first and second rounds, so I stalked the university's site until it began accepting applications for 2009 (a couple weeks after the tournament ended).
Yes, you have to apply. Last year there was a $10 application fee. FYI, the greedy NCAA charges your credit card immediately for the full value of the tickets, despite the fact that I didn't find out till July that we actually were going to get tix, and we didn't actually know where our seats were till we got tix in hand about three weeks ago.
Incidentally the NCAA is being sued in a class-action suit for charging a non-refundable application fee and charging credit cards immediately, so maybe I'll eventually get my $10 back. :)
We were a little bummed that our seats weren't in the lower level, but they've provided great views, and we've since realized that a lot of the lower seats are reserved for schools. We've been sitting above the Louisville section of fans, which has been fun.
Oh, regarding our hotel this weekend, I saved up hotel points and cashed in rewards in exchange for a room (I booked last July when I knew for sure we'd get tix. Some hotels were already full). We've been using up our stash of restaurant gift cards from Christmas for our meals, so this weekend has been pretty recession-proof.
P.S. I did all of my ticket-scouring activity behind Phil's back since I gave him our tix as a surprise Christmas gift. It is a MIRACLE that I didn't spill the beans.