Tonight's finals are taking place in a football stadium which for basketball fans can be problematic. Quite simply, seats that are fine for football are too far away for basketball.

But as NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports, AT&T Stadium in Arlington, home of the Dallas Cowboys, is different.

WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: The first time a newbie walks in to Cowboys Stadium, the person stops dead in his or her tracks and stares toward the heavens. After a few seconds of stunned, holy silence, there's an exclamation of astonishment. They just cannot believe how big it is.


GOODWYN: Michael and Monica Niezgoda are Wisconsin fans, and when asked when they stopped watching the game on the floor and begin watching the TV hanging from the roof...

MONICA NIEZGODA: Pretty much right away.

MICHAEL NIEZGODA: Right after tip-off.


GOODWYN: Made by Mitsubishi, the display is the length of four coach buses by 72 feet high. It's not just that the screen is ridiculously huge. It's the amazing picture quality of the LED 1080 high definition.

ROBERT DENT: I'd say the only time I watched the game on the floor is when they were doing rewinds up on the TV and I was missing the game.

GOODWYN: That's Florida Gator fan Robert Dent. I asked Dent if he felt any guilt whatsoever about watching the giant TV instead of the action on the court, after all the money he spent for tickets, airfare, hotels , meals.

DENT: No guilt at all. The TV is a little better than the one in my living room.

GOODWYN: There is a gender component to this reaction. Men tend to be completely fine watching the TV. But women, yeah, not too hard to find a woman who feels a little guilty about it.

SANDY DALTON: You know, when you first see it, it's - you're kind of like, what is this? It's too big. It seems a little overwhelming.

GOODWYN: That's Kansas fan Sandy Dalton. Yes. I know Kansas isn't in the Final Four but the Daltons bought their tickets hoping they would be. Sandy says watching the game here is an entirely new experience. Everyone is not watching the court together but it's OK because they can see the game so well. Dalton was ideologically against it at first, but as time went by the experience began to grow on her.

DALTON: When you're sitting up there and you're watching it, you can look down and see the court but you watch the Jumbotron. But you also have all of the live experience going on around you. So it's now great.

GOODWYN: The giant screens serve to make the Final Four experience a little more democratic. No matter what you've paid you still can see everything perfectly. But what about those who've actually paid, not hundreds of dollars a ticket, but thousands of dollars a ticket? What are they watching?

DON JACOBS: Actually it was half and half actually. And I was down low too. So...

GOODWYN: That's Kentucky fan Don Jacobs from Lexington. He could see the action on the court perfectly but his eyes nevertheless were pulled skyward.

JACOBS: The clarity is just fantastic. We were low enough where we couldn't decide if we wanted to watch the floor or the middle screen or the big screen. But I think the big screen is pretty fabulous.

GOODWYN: I know, you're thinking there is no way you would pay thousands of dollars to see a sporting event and watch it on some darn TV. It's ridiculous. Well, there's still time to see if you can stick by your guns. Next year, college football is holding its first ever national championship playoff competition. It's going to be huge, momentous, historic, and guess where it's going to be?

Wade Goodwyn, NPR News, Dallas.



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