NCAA picked 613 host sites for games through 2022.
The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) sifted through more than 3,000 bid submissions, whittling down a final list to 613 host sites for preliminary rounds and finals of predetermined championships from 2017 through 2022.
With 84 of the NCAA’s 90 championships up for bid across multiple sports, 43 states found their way into hosting at least one round of some NCAA championship, with Pennsylvania taking the top spot with 53 hosting responsibilities, led by Pittsburgh earning 22 tasks, the most of any city. Florida, 51, wasn’t far behind.
While a variety of sports filled out the selection process, the marquee announcements for venues across the country come as the NCAA awards hosting responsibilities for NCAA basketball tournament rounds, doling out key hosting jobs to a variety of venues not yet even built.
“Working with our valued host institutions and conferences, as well as sports commissions and cities, to create a great atmosphere for student-athletes, coaches and fans with the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments is our goal every year,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball.
Criteria for selecting host sites included creating an “exceptional experience” for the student-athletes, along with adherence to NCAA bid specifications. Specifications can include, but are not limited to, providing optimal facilities; ease of travel to the location and ample lodging; and adherence to NCAA principles, which include providing an atmosphere that is safe and respects the dignity of all attendees.
With the next five men’s Final Four sites previously announced, the NCAA needed to fill in the locations of the preliminary and regional rounds from 2019 through 2022. The new faces enter the fray in 2022, where three cities that haven’t hosted a men’s tournament in decades were added to the mix. And two in buildings not yet constructed.
Chase Center, San Francisco, the future home of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, earned the West Regional in 2022, bringing the regional round of the tournament to the city for the first time since 1939, the year of the inaugural tournament. Set to open in 2019, Chase Center has already landed the largest NCAA tournament stage an arena can muster (all Final Fours are played in stadiums).
“Chase Center and the surrounding area are going to be a destination for the entire Bay Area and having the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship West Regional at Chase Center in 2022 is great for not only the city of San Francisco, but the entire Bay Area to come and see some of the best in college basketball,” said Rick Welts, Warriors president. “This is one of the most exciting events on the calendar for sports … we’re excited for this to be the first event officially on our Chase Center schedule.”
Less than an hour after the planned, $450-million Multipurpose Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, announced its new naming rights sponsor as Dickies Arena, the venue was named host for the 2022 first and second rounds, along with four years of women’s gymnastics, bringing NCAA basketball to the city for the first time since 1970.
“This is another testament to the fantastic partnership that Texas Christian University (TCU) has with the City of Fort Worth,” said Chris Del Conte, TCU director of intercollegiate athletics. “Now with the new Dickies Arena coming to fruition, Fort Worth is an incredibly attractive host site for many NCAA Championships, which will certainly benefit TCU student-athletes, coaches and fans.”
Dickies Arena is scheduled for a November 2019 opening and will hold 13,300 fans in its basketball configuration.
For the first time in 30 years, Cincinnati will draw NCAA men’s basketball to its city in 2020. But instead of coming to a building not yet open, the NCAA has selected a 40-year old venue, U.S. Bank Arena, in need of renovations. But that could change. Owner Nederlander Entertainment told local media on April 19 that the plan to draw the NCAA to Cincinnati included a provision to remodel the venue.
That could happen with a brand-new arena, but no official announcement has taken place. The arena has a list of previous hosting responsibilities, including a Women’s Final Four in 1997 and four men’s hosting duties dating all the way back to 1979.
Of the five previously announced men’s Final Four hosts, two will host NCAA events for the first time. Opened in 2016, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, hosts in 2019 and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, scheduled for an August opening, will host in 2020.
On the women’s side, five of the seven arenas awarded regional responsibilities in 2019 and 2020 do so for the first time. In 2019, Wintrust Arena, Chicago, and Moda Center, Portland, Ore., earn NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship games for the first time. They join Times Union Center, Albany, N.Y., for its third hosting responsibility and Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum for its fifth.
Greensboro Coliseum also earned early round men’s games in 2020. The venue has hosted 63 NCAA men’s tournament games, the fifth most in tournament history. The NCAA had previously stripped North Carolina sites of hosting duties in 2016-17 following the state’s enactment of HB2. But with the repeal of the bill earlier this year, the NCAA announced that any site in North Carolina set to host a championship in 2017-18 was allowed to keep it. North Carolina sites, including Greensboro Coliseum, were part of the new allocations.
In 2020, Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Fort Wayne, Ind., enters the fray as a first-time women’s host, along with first-timers Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Greenville, S.C., and Moody Coliseum, Dallas.
“Fort Wayne has a proud tradition of basketball and hosting visitors, and these events will be excellent opportunities to expand our sports tourism resume,” said Dan O’Connell, president of Visit Fort Wayne, who estimates the economic impact of the women’s event at $1.2 million.
The University of Dayton (Ohio) Arena will remain the host of the men’s tournament’s First Four through 2022, as it has done since 2011. The venue has hosted 117 men’s basketball tournament games, the most of any facility.