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Women's Final Four Recap

June 14, 2018

Championship Leads to Nearly 20,000 Visitors and 32,000+ Hotel Room Nights
COLUMBUS (June 7, 2018) – The 2018 Women’s Final Four, hosted for the first time in Columbus, featured thrilling basketball games in front of sellout crowds, well-attended fan and community events and resulted in a higher than estimated direct visitor spending amount, according to the economic impact study conducted by Performance Research for the Columbus Local Organizing Committee.
Direct Visitor Spending
The results from the economic impact study were that the NCAA Women’s Final Four resulted in $21.7 million in direct visitor spending for the region’s economy. Additionally, close to 20,000 unique visitors from outside Central Ohio generated $5.9 million in spending alone from 32,747 hotel room nights. Hosting the event also created 377 full- or part-time jobs in the region with the industries gaining the most full- or part-time jobs being: restaurants (126), hotels (58), ground and passenger transportation (31) and retail stores (29).
Visitor Insights
The 2018 Women’s Final Four attracted a total attendance of nearly 80,000 over four days, with 39,123 attending the three games at Nationwide Arena, which surpassed fan turnout from Dallas in 2017. The national championship game had 19,559 attendees, also up from the previous year. When attendance on both days had been taken into account, there were 21,968 unique attendees for the Women’s Final Four. This included 2,098 fans who live in Central Ohio and 19,870 visitors from outside the region, with averages of 3.6 days in length of stay and $271 in daily spending.
Attendees traveled to the championship from near and far, with 10 percent from the Columbus region, seven percent from Ohio (beyond the region) and 83 percent from all 49 other states and multiple countries. After Ohio, the state most strongly represented was Connecticut, from where 16 percent of attendees had traveled. Additionally, 60 percent of visitors were experiencing Columbus for the first time and according to the study, the majority stated they had an “Excellent” experience.
“The impact from the NCAA Women’s Final Four on our community was a great deal more than just the visitor dollars spent,” said Greater Columbus Sports Commission Executive Director Linda Shetina Logan. “In addition to attracting fans from all 50 states and multiple countries, this seminal event attracted a tremendous number of people who had never been to our city before. Their impressions of a vibrant, exciting and welcoming city will prove to be of great value to our community for years to come.”
Additional Women’s Final Four Highlights:

  • The national championship game between Notre Dame and Mississippi State averaged a total of 3.5 million viewers across television and digital.
  • Columbus averaged an 8.5 market rating for the championship game, the highest rating on record in the city for a women’s basketball tournament game.
  • On social media, according to Nielsen Social Top Five ratings, the 2018 national championship game was the No. 1 sporting event during the broadcast window, garnering more than 1.1 million social interactions.
  • Total impressions on NCAA social media accounts increased 30 percent (to 11.6 million), likes increased by 41 percent (to 86,300), link clicks more than doubled (to 39,400) with video views skyrocketing nearly 1,900 percent to 3.4 million.
  • Tourney Town presented by Capital One, the official fan fest of the Women’s Final Four, recorded 23,770 attendees, the fourth-highest on record.
  • The NCAA Bounce, sponsored by Buick, had approximately 2,250 youth participants, which surpassed previous host communities.
  • The NCAA teamed up with the Nancy Lieberman Charities’ Dream Courts program and the Columbus Local Organizing Committee (CLOC) and Columbus Recreation and Parks to refurbish an outdoor basketball court at Beatty Park in Columbus.
  • More than 100 children in grades three through 11 participated in the NCAA Youth Clinics inside Tourney Town presented by Capital One.
  • This year’s Read to the Final Four program included 35 participating schools from Columbus City Schools with more than 2,000 children students read an estimated 16 million words outside of school hours this year
  • Columbus became the first NCAA Women’s Final Four host city to be awarded the “Evergreen” sustainability certification, the highest level given by the National Council for Responsible Sport.

A sample of 551 Women’s Final Four attendees were interviewed face-to-face via an electronic survey including 32 questions by Performance Research staff at the Nationwide Arena and at Tourney Town in Columbus. It was ensured that interviewing took place at various points throughout the venues.
Bruce Wimbish | Greater Columbus Sports Commission | 614-632-7600
Sarah Irvin | Irvin PR/Greater Columbus Sports Commission | 614-296-4057 | [email protected]