Two years after hosting the Women’s Final Four, Columbus is hoping to do it again.
On Friday, the Greater Columbus Sports Commission announced that it had submitted its final bid to return the event to the city in either 2025 or 2026.
Chosen as a finalist in January along with Tampa, Phoenix and Portland, Oregon, Columbus will learn its fate in October after virtual meetings and presentations in the coming months.
"When we played host to the 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four, our community made such a powerful impression on the sports world," Greater Columbus Sports Commission executive director Linda Shetina Logan said in a statement. "That event showcased our great city to thousands of people whether players coaches, fans or those watching on TV, and we’re looking forward to making an even bigger impact in 2025 or 2026."
The 2018 Final Four, which was played at Nationwide Arena and saw Notre Dame defeat Mississippi State on a buzzer-beater in the title game and also featured Connecticut and Louisville, was watched by 7.62 million viewers on ESPN, attended by 39,123 fans and set a record by issuing 773 media credentials. All three games were sold out.
In addition, Tourney Town, the official fan fest of the Women’s Final Four, recorded 23,770 attendees, the fourth-highest on record. In all, the event generated roughly $22 million for the city of Columbus.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, members of the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee will conduct virtual visits with each city in August. The finalists will then make a virtual presentation Sept. 23.
In the meantime, Columbus is set to host five other women’s collegiate sports championships during the next two years:
• NCAA Division III women’s volleyball championship: November 2020, Capital University, Capital Center
• NCAA Division II women’s basketball championship: March 2021, Ohio Dominican, Alumni Hall
• NCAA Division I women’s golf regional: May 2021, Ohio State Scarlet Course
• NCAA Division I women’s volleyball championship and American Volleyball Coaches Association annual convention: December 2021, Nationwide Arena and Greater Columbus Convention Center
• National Collegiate women’s bowling championship: April 2022, Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl