How a football stadium becomes the host of the Final Four

REVELxp CEP Ray DeWeese speaks with Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the commercial end and process of installing the Final Four basketball court in a football stadium and installing Top Golf facilities in top sports venues.

Video transcript

– The last time Duke met North Carolina, he appeared in front of just over 9,000 fans at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The next time they meet, it will happen in the Final Four. This is the first-ever NCAA tournament meeting between the two in front of more than 70,000 people. So how do you turn a football stadium into a basketball paradise? Well, that task falls to REVELxp. Joining us is their CEO, Ray DeWeese, along with Josh Schafer. Ray, it’s good to see you. We do not see this process. We just saw the game and assume it was easy. Explain this whole process to us. And how do you make sure it’s a fan-friendly environment, good sightlines, and not just having as many seats as possible? RAY DEWEESE: Yes. Well, I think we’re all excited to see this Final Four, especially with this tee up. But yes, it all started about 20 years ago. And at the Minnesota game in 2001, we were actually building a football stadium on one side of the field. And then around 2008, 2009, the NCAA really wanted to make the Final Four more visually appealing to fans, and specifically for television as well. So they came to see us and asked us to turn the site into a basketball stadium. And so we start by sitting the ground at the 50 meter line and building it from there, and then building all the seats, rooms, rooms and bridges around it. So it ends up being somewhere around 80,000 square feet of equipment. It takes us 14 days to completely build everything from start to finish. And we actually ended the day earlier this year. So whatever is over is happening now. But no one will even say what happened in the past two weeks. But yeah, it’s an amazing company. Obviously you have the video rolling over there. And this 14-day process of building a football stadium into a basketball arena unfolds and brings the experience not only to amplified viewing in the building, but also from the camera’s perspective on TV . – And, Ray, how big is your business? And who is setting up this tribunal for you guys? Guys, do you kind of get contractors from the different sites you go to in different areas? Or are you kind of a traveling band that travels the country and finds these different events? Because obviously the Final Four is a huge event, but there isn’t a Final Four every weekend. So how does the business model work? RAY DEWEESE: Yes. So that’s one of the most unique parts of the business that we have. Overall, we work in the hospitality industry. So everything from design to construction, tailgating opportunities to sequels in championship-level matches. But it’s specifically a build that we have a fairly large full-time production team based in Birmingham, Alabama for. And we have, overall, the most, I guess, laborious amount of time on building the Final Four. 115 to 130 workers. We have a list of crew tech that we’ve been using with the NCAA Final Four release for years. And so as part of this relationship that goes back over 20 years now, you start building a list of who you know you can trust. They include the pieces and parts of the puzzle that we put together for the NCAA. And so, yes, that part of the business is unique to us. We have a number of other versions that are not as comprehensive as this one. – Speaking of unique, you also do things by turning iconic baseball and football stadiums into Top Golf venues. Tell us about this process. RAY DEWEESE: It was great. This relationship with Top Golf has therefore lasted for a few years. We were able to host one of the first live events to come out of COVID in February 2020, where people came to McLane Stadium and were able to hit golf balls on the football pitch. We had emblematic places. We went to Georgia, as you can see in the video. We have been to Tennessee. We just did Dodger Stadium in January of last year. It’s fantastic. And it’s built around everything we’ve released and wanted to do as REVELxp, which is to provide experiences that people will enjoy, want to come back to, and share with family, friends, and fellow fans. – Ray, we only have about 30 seconds here, but I wanted to ask you, given the demand for this Final Four, was there flexibility to be able to add more seats and bring more fans into the stadium ? We saw the demand for tickets. I was curious when you kind of got the setup and if there was a way to squeeze in maybe a few extra viewers for the big games this Saturday. RAY DEWEESE: Yes. That’s an excellent question. It’s a year-round process. In fact, we are already working on Houston for next year. And so it’s funny. When you think about the construction of everything, if you change just one seat, you really change the whole layout of everything. So we don’t have the ability to add too much, especially given the speed of execution from one weekend to the next. We had already started building on March 14. It was therefore predetermined what the layout would look like. So, unfortunately, we weren’t able to do any of that for this particular Final Four. – A word. Duke or North Carolina, Ray? RAY DEWEESE: I just hope it’s a great game. – You kicked. Agreed. Ray DeWeese, CEO of REVELxp. We are looking forward to an amazing weekend. Thank you sir. Appreciate it.

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