After successful 2018 run, Women's basketball Final Four could be returning to Columbus

Adam Jardy
The Columbus Dispatch
Organizers estimate that hosting the 2018 women's Final Four provided a $22 million boost to the Columbus economy.

Columbus is in the running to once again host the women's college basketball Final Four.

After serving as the home court for three sold-out games at Nationwide Arena in 2018, Columbus is a finalist to host the event sometime between 2027-31. Final bids are due in July, after which the NCAA will evaluate the candidates and make its decisions in November.

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“We are thrilled,” Greater Columbus Sports Commission CEO and president Linda Logan said in a statement. “The 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four unified our community in a meaningful way, introducing thousands of players, coaches and fans to our great city. Columbus has always championed women’s sports, and we look forward to continuing that mission as we work with the NCAA through this process.”

More than 39,000 people attended the 2018 event, which was named the Sports Event of the Year by Sports Travel Magazine. In addition to a thrilling final game that saw Notre Dame defeat UConn on a last-second overtime shot, the event drew 20,000 visitors and provided a $22 million boost to the local economy according to organizers.

And if Columbus hosts again, the event could include more than just Division I teams. The city has expressed its willingness to also host the Division II and III events if they are bundled together in future years. Columbus hosted the Division II Final Four in 2019 and 2021 and was to host the Division III Final Four in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic forced its cancellation.

Since 2002, Columbus has been the host site for 13 NCAA Tournaments, hosting first- and second-round Division I men’s games in 2005, 2007, 2015 and 2019 and Division I women’s first- and second-round games in 2005, 2011 and 2013. In all, Columbus has hosted more than 100 NCAA events across all sports during that time span.

“We are eager for another chance to elevate our city while inspiring the next generation of women athletes,” Logan said.

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy

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