Columbus selected to host 2027 NCAA women's Final Four

Bailey Johnson
The Columbus Dispatch
Streamers fall from the rafters of Nationwide Arena as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrate their 2018 national championship victory. Columbus will host the women's Final Four again in 2027.

The women's Final Four is returning to Columbus.

The city hosted the Final Four in 2018, and it was announced in June that Columbus was a finalist for the next cycle of Final Four assignments. Monday afternoon, the NCAA revealed Columbus was selected to host the 2027 semifinal and championship games.

Following the event in Columbus, Indianapolis will host in 2028, San Antonio in 2029, Portland in 2030 and Dallas in 2031.

"The Women's Final Four is the premier women's basketball event in the country, and it's exciting to see the unprecedented amount of interest from cities to host in the future," Lisa Peterson, chair of the selection committee, said in a statement.

Columbus also hopes to host the championships for Divisions II and III as part of the bid, which would mark just the third time all three divisions play for a title in the same city. The initiative began in Indianapolis in 2016, and this year's Final Four in Dallas will also feature all three divisions.

"We are grateful to be a hub for women’s sports through our partnership with the NCAA," said Linda Logan, the CEO and president of the Greater Columbus Sports Commission. "We raised the bar globally with our work on the 2018 Women’s Final Four and embrace the challenge to elevate the event even higher in 2027."

The bid process began with 15 cities, which was narrowed to seven in the summer. After Columbus was announced as a finalist, the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, Ohio State and Nationwide Arena submitted a final bid. NCAA officials made a site visit to Columbus in late August.

"We are very proud of the tournament that was here in 2018,” Logan said during the site visit. "When you think about things we couldn’t control, there were three amazing games and some great weather, but we all know that we can never rest on our laurels."

Notre Dame celebrates its 61-58 victory against Mississippi State in the 2018 national championship game at Nationwide Arena.

Columbus has hosted other NCAA events since 2018, most recently the 2021 volleyball Final Four and the 2022 women's bowling championship. The city will also host first- and second-round games in the men's NCAA Tournament this March.

The volleyball national championship last December set an NCAA record for attendance at a volleyball title game with 18,755 fans at Nationwide Arena, which drove home the support for women's sports in the Columbus area. Enthusiasm for the 2018 Final Four was also notable, with a then-record total crowd of 39,123 across the three games.

"Obviously, we don't have that domed stadium to host a men's Final Four, but we know what our sweet spot is,” Logan said last December. "In this case, both the women's Final Four and volleyball championships are in that wheelhouse." 

bjohnson@dispatch.com

@BaileyAJohnson_