The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has announced the host cities for the five editions of its Final Four end-of-season men’s basketball showpiece from 2017 through 2021.
The 2017 Final Four will take place at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, in what will be the first time a western city has staged the event since Seattle in 1995. The Alamodome in the Texan city of San Antonio will become the sixth facility to stage at least four Final Fours when it hosts the 2018 edition of the event. The venue is due to be renovated ahead of its hosting of the Final Four.
In 2019, the Final Four will move on to Minneapolis, Minnesota and will be staged at the yet-to-be-completed Minnesota Multi-Purpose Stadium. The city previously hosted the Final Four at the Metrodome in 1992 and 2001. The Final Four will then return to Atlanta, Georgia for a fifth time in 2020 when it takes place at the new Atlanta Stadium, which is currently under construction. The city’s Omni facility staged the event in 1997 while the Georgia Dome hosted the Final Four in 2002, 2007 and 2013.
Indianapolis in the state of Indiana, which has an ongoing agreement with the NCAA to stage the Final Four every five years until 2040, will host the event again in 2021. Lucas Oil Stadium, the host venue for the 2015 Final Four, will also stage the 2021 edition of the end-of-season event.
Dan Gavitt, vice-president of men’s basketball at the NCAA, said: “This certainly was a very competitive process, so selecting Indianapolis to host the 2021 Final Four presented the committee an opportunity to select four other cities for the original span of the bid cycle.
“The agreement we have with the city of Indianapolis provides flexibility to the site selection process, so any reasonable option that benefited the event while maintaining the integrity of the bid process for the other finalist cities was considered. The Indianapolis local organising committee was receptive of the idea and assured us that they would be prepared with guarantees from the venues and local hotels.”
From an initial list of eight potential hosts, New Orleans in Louisiana, the Missourian city of St. Louis and the North Texas area were the finalists to miss out on hosting rights. Although Texas missed out on this occasion, the state will play host to the 2016 edition of the Final Four, which will take place at the NRG Stadium in the city of Houston. AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas hosted the 2014 Final Four, which saw Connecticut Huskies emerge triumphant on April 7.
The Final Four comprises the semi-finals between the winner of each region within the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship collegiate competition. The winner of the Final Four is crowned national champion.