Glendale wins bid to host 2024 Final Four

By: 
DARRELL JACKSON, Staff Writer
Less than two years after hosting the National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball championships, it was announced that the University of Phoenix Stadium would host the 2024 Final Four. The announcement was made July 16 by the NCAA selection committee.
 
“How cool is that?” Mayor Jerry Weirs said minutes after the announcement. “Especially one year after we were awarded another Super Bowl and the fact that we are being awarded these events so soon after hosting them.”
 
The 2024 Final Four will be played at the University of Phoenix Stadium while most other events will be held in downtown Phoenix as the entire Valley is expected to benefit from the games being held in Glendale.

Arizona was bidding to host either 2024, 2025 or 2026 games and was a finalist along with Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Los Angeles, Detroit and Indianapolis.

“I could not be prouder that the NCAA has selected Phoenix to host another iconic Final Four,” Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said. “The Final Four is more than just great games, it’s a spectacular opportunity for our statewide tourism industry and a platform to showcase Arizona to an international audience. We look forward to welcoming the teams and their fans to our state, which is quickly becoming the nation’s No. 1 destination for major sporting events.”

The bid was a collaborative effort between Arizona Sports and Tourism Association, local Valley cities, tourism bureaus and the Arizona Cardinals with Arizona State University serving as the host institution, all teaming up with the Phoenix Local Organizing Committee (PLOC).
 
“This is a fantastic day for Arizona. We are thrilled to be selected to host another Final Four,” PLOC co-chair Debbie Johnson said. “Once again, this has been a true community effort. I am grateful to everyone across the state who supported our successful bid.”

Yucca District Councilmember Joyce Clark said, “I am delighted and pleased and I do think that we have to attribute some of this success to our city manager (Kevin Phelps) because I know he was heavily involved in the presentation to the NCAA selection committee.”

Phelps was part of a group, including representatives from Phoenix and the Arizona Sports and Tourism Association, which made a presentation during the week of July 9-13 to the NCAA showcasing what the West Valley had to offer.

“I am not surprised that Arizona was selected because we have shown that when we host these mega events, we do a great job,” Weiers said. “We will have more hotels and will be in much better shape than (we were in 2017) and it puts Glendale in the spotlight once again.”

Phelps added in a statement, “Today’s announcement is the culmination of the hard work and cooperation between Gov. Ducey, Arizona State University, the business community and civic leaders. The coordinated efforts of these different stakeholders is unique to Arizona and provides us with a competitive advantage in our efforts to attract major events to the Valley. Our team is committed to working with our partners in successfully hosting yet another large-scale sporting event here in Glendale. With today’s exciting announcement, we will now focus our recognized signature level of service in preparing for Final Four 2024.”

While Houston and NRG Stadium was awarded the 2023 Final Four, the Arizona contingency did not bid on the 2023 Final Four because it will be hosting the Super Bowl that year. They decided to attempt to get 2024-26 and were eager for a return of the tournament to the West Valley.

Numerous reports had Glendale in competition with Los Angeles and the under construction, $4 billion stadium for the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers as the west coast selection for the Final Four and Clark said she was not surprised that Glendale was selected.
 
“Not surprised because every time we host something of this magnitude, a Super Bowl or Final Four, we have the reputation of doing an excellent job as host,” Clark said. “Based upon their experience of events held here, that is why they select Glendale.”

The Final Four in 2017 had a $324.5 million impact for Arizona and the Super Bowl in 2015 had a $720 million statewide impact, according to studies by ASU, and Johnson said the area is ready to host again.

The national semifinals are scheduled for April 6, 2026, while the championship game will be contested April 8, 2026, at University of Phoenix Stadium.
 
Future locations for the Final Four
2019 Minneapolis, U.S. Bank Stadium
2020 Atlanta, Mercedes-Benz Stadium
2021 Indianapolis, Lucas Oil Stadium
2022 New Orleans, Mercedes-Benz Superdome
2023 Houston, NRG Stadium
2024 Phoenix/Glendale, University of Phoenix Stadium
2025 San Antonio, Alamodome
2026 Indianapolis, Lucas Oil Stadium

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