Coach Sydnee Carter, March Madness, Women's Final Four, Women's College Basketball, Sports

Women’s Final Four: Coach Sydney Carter Partners With Marriott For Game-Day Rituals

The 'Score Big with Marriott Bonvoy Game Day Rituals' campaign offers fans a chance to partake in the excitement firsthand.

For the first time in 17 years, Cleveland is hosting the Women’s Final Four, from April 4 to 7, and Ohio stands to gain from that excitement. The Women’s Final Four arrives amidst a surge in viewership and attendance for women’s college basketball. According to the NCAA, the women’s tournament set attendance records for the first two rounds in the last two years, while TV ratings for those rounds jumped more than 27%. Last year’s championship game between LSU and Iowa drew an average of nearly 10 million viewers, more than double the year before.

As the madness surmounts, 20,000 people from all over the country are expected to attend the tournament, which will bring in $25 million. 

This year, the Women’s Final Four in Cleveland receives an added boost with a strategic partnership between Marriott Bonvoy and Sydney Carter, a renowned women’s college basketball coach and current Director of Player Development for the University of Texas Women’s Basketball team. Marriott Bonvoy, the distinguished travel program boasting a diverse portfolio of over 30 hotel brands, recognizes the profound impact of sports tourism and is committed to enhancing the fan experience. Their “Score Big with Marriott Bonvoy Game Day Rituals” campaign not only celebrates the enthusiasm of sports fandom but also offers fans a chance to partake in the excitement firsthand.

Before the two-day tournament, BLACK ENTERPRISE spoke with Sydney Carter about partnering with Marriott, reflecting on her journey from player to coach, and discussing the significance of game-day rituals. 

The Women’s Final Four 

The Women’s Final Four isn’t just about basketball; it’s a powerhouse event that transforms cities into economic hubs, and Cleveland is no exception. Beyond the financial boost, the Final Four has a deeper resonance — a celebration of athleticism, teamwork, and the culmination of years of dedication.

Reflecting on her journey from player to coach, Carter emphasized, “March Madness is one of those unique moments every year – no matter where you come from or who you are rooting for, people come together to celebrate the excitement of the tournament. As someone who has traveled extensively throughout my basketball career, I have seen how travel – like sports – can bring people together, transform people’s perspectives, and forge connections and community.”

Over the past decade, enthusiasm for women’s basketball has grown exponentially, and the storylines surrounding it are nonstop, drawing in huge audiences and new fans alike. The names Angel Reese, Caitlin Clark, and USC’s Juju Watkins are widely recognized among sports fans and many who aren’t typically engaged in women’s basketball.

Game Day Rituals

Coach Carter, a stalwart figure in the basketball community, lends her expertise and passion to the “Score Big with Marriott Bonvoy Game Day Rituals” campaign, embodying the essence of game day rituals. 

“As a former basketball player and coach, game day rituals have always been a part of my routine. Whether picking out a fire game day ‘fit’ or listening to a particular song, pregame traditions are something that players and sports fans can relate to,” Carter said. 

When it comes to their favorite team, sports fans will go to great lengths to influence the outcome of a game. According to a survey conducted by Wakefield Research, 63% of sports fans who have game-day rituals think their team will lose if they don’t complete their rituals, and a stunning 74% said they would risk their job to watch their team play for a championship during work hours. 

Carter, who played college basketball at Texas A&M and professionally in the WNBA, remembers when her game-day rituals started and mentions, “I’ve had several game-day rituals for as long as I can remember. As a player, I would drink a certain amount of water and eat a particular candy bar before every game – and I would always put my uniform on the right side first. 

Partnering with JW (Marriott), known for creating mindful experiences, is a perfect fit for Carter, who still participates in game-day routines as a coach.

“Now, as a coach, I still put everything on the right side first, but my game-day rituals also include things like having a cup of coffee — or two — doing my makeup routine, and picking out an outfit that will help me feel prepared and confident to lead my team.”

Creating March Madness Memories

With the Women’s Final on the horizon, Cleveland is poised to showcase its prowess as a host city and the enduring spirit of women’s college basketball. With Carter and Marriott Bonvoy’s partnering, fans can expect an experience beyond the game. Carter and two lucky winners will experience courtside seats and a personal game-day rituals session with Carter herself. Celebrating passion, tradition, and the power of ritual in sports, the Women’s College Basketball Final will undoubtedly be an experience to remember. 

“Game day rituals are so important,” stated Carter. “Not only do they provide a sense of familiarity, but by completing the same routine before a game, you’re immediately put in the right headspace and mindset of knowing what you need to do to show up feeling like your best self so you can accomplish your goals. The Score Big with Marriott Bonvoy Game Day Rituals campaign is a fun representation of the importance of these traditions for players and fans, and I am glad to be a part of it!” 

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