Women’s Final Four: Some business owners upset

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DENVER -- The city is hosting the women’s NCAA Final Four and it promises to bring a full week’s worth of basketball fun.

The games themselves take place April 1 and April 3 at the Pepsi Center.

There will be clinics and skills camps for young people, along with a mass dribble through downtown Denver leading up to the action on the court.

Still, not everyone is happy.

A group of women, Hispanic and Black vendors (involved with office printing, catering, transportation and signage) say they were cut out of a chance to get contracts for the games.

“They told us to reach out to them—the organizing committee—back in January, which we did,” says Urban Spectrum publisher Bee Harris. We sent our ad rate sheets and history of our newspaper only to be told that while 25 contracts were going to be filled, none were filled by women or contractors of color,” Harris says.

“We don’t want to be given anything, except a chance to bid on the contracts that could generate more than $20 million,” says civil rights leader Alvertis Simmons. “With all the Black women coming on the four teams who will reach the semi’s, we just feel they should see the diversity Denver and the Rocky Mountains have to offer, by having some Black vendors involved in the process.”

BBQ caterer Dennis Brooks says his company could have also benefited from being able to work with the Final Four, but because there were only about 25 contracts, Denver Sports—the organizing committee -- decided to reward companies that are in the DS family—companies that support the nonprofit for all the events the group brings to town.

“Events such as the Democratic National Convention had some 1500 contracts, so we could offer more to businesses throughout the metro area,” says Denver Sports spokeswoman Sue Baldwin. “But this event only had a limited number of contracts to let.”

The games will be played in April at the Pepsi Center, but the last days of March will see all kinds of events for kids of all sizes and colors taking place all over the downtown area.

See schedules and information here

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