The NCAA has awarded Columbus, The Ohio State University and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, its 2018 Women’s Final Four, slated to be held at Nationwide Arena over the weekend of March 30-April 1.
Columbus was a finalist along with Dallas, Houston, Nashville, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Tampa. Dallas (2017), Tampa (2019) and New Orleans (2020) join Columbus as hosts following an 18-month bidding process.
“The past 15 months of the selection process resulted in four deserving cities being chosen to host the marquee event of our sport, the Women’s Final Four,” said Dru Hancock, chair of the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee and senior associate commissioner at the Big 12 Conference. “We appreciate all of the cities and local organizing committees that participated in the process. Dallas, Columbus, Tampa Bay and New Orleans each demonstrated that they will continue to raise the bar on the event while enhancing the experience for our student-athletes, coaches and fans. We look forward to our work together as we continue to build this important event.”
“We’d like to thank the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee for their trust in Columbus to host the Women’s Final Four in 2018,” said Ohio State Athletics Deputy Director of Athletics Miechelle Willis. “It is one of the most sought after events in the sports marketplace because it is much more than three basketball games.”
The NCAA Women’s Final Four is the centerpiece of a weekend celebration that features the national semifinals and championship game of the NCAA Division I women’s basketball championship; theWomen’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Annual Convention held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, an NCAA Official Fan Festival and numerous community events.
The Women’s Final Four will generate an estimated $18-20M in visitor spending for Central Ohio with the semifinals and championship game attracting more than 40,000 fans to Nationwide Arena over two nights, utilizing close to 14,000 hotel room nights, with all three games broadcast nationally on ESPN.
“Hosting the Women’s Final Four is a dream come true for Columbus,” said Greater Columbus Sports Commission Executive Director Linda Logan. “This monumental event demonstrates just how far our city has come and we will work tirelessly to make 2018 one of the most memorable experiences for the NCAA and its student-athletes.”
“Nationwide Arena has been honored to host a variety of major sporting events, world class concerts and various Presidential visits, and has demonstrated the ability to handle large events with a high level of service,” said Vicki Chorman, General Manager of Nationwide Arena. “Hosting the NCAA Women’s Final Four tournament is a great opportunity to grow the fan base of women’s basketball in Columbus and we are extremely proud to be a part of the team bringing this signature event to the city.”
Columbus, The Ohio State University and our community’s major sports venues have hosted many major national sporting events in recent years with close to 60 NCAA championships, including NCAA men and women’s preliminary rounds, NCAA Frozen Four; NHL Entry Draft & All-Star Weekend (in 2015); MLS Cup & All-Star Game; FIFA Women’s World Cup and Men’s World Cup qualifiers; The Presidents Cup, Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup in golf along with many others.
Columbus’ long-desired aspiration to be a leading sports destination for women’s athletics continues to be realized with the addition of the NCAA Women’s Final Four. Last fall, the city was awarded the 2016 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball National Championship and the 2017 NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Elite Eight and National Championship with Ohio Dominican, both for the first time. In addition, Columbus and Ohio State will host the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics National Championship in 2014-15 and 2017-18. In 2012, Columbus hosted one of the country’s largest sporting events in the USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships.