Columbus named a finalist for women’s Final Four

Columbus has been named a finalist to host the Women’s Final Four, America’s marquee women’s sporting event, in one of the future years of 2017-2020, the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced today. The Ohio State University, Greater Columbus Sports Commission and Nationwide Arena submitted a collaborative intent to bid which included various pieces of information highlighting the City of Columbus, Nationwide Arena and the hotel and Convention Center footprint.

The NCAA Women’s Final Four represents one of the largest and most prestigious collegiate championships that Columbus can host. 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 tournament; promotion of women’s health, sports and fitness; educational outreach, an Official Fan Festival; youth clinics and a girl’s high-school basketball All-America game.

The event will generate an estimated $15 to $18 million in visitor spending in Central Ohio with the semifinals and championship game attracting more than 40,000 fans to Nationwide Arena over two nights, with all three games broadcast on national television. In addition, a variety of Central Ohio charities would benefit greatly from ancillary events held in conjunction with the event.

"We’d like to thank the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee for advancing our bid to the next round," said Ohio State Athletics Executive Associate Athletic Director Miechelle Willis. "The Women’s Final Four is one of the most sought after events in the sports marketplace because it is much more than three basketball games and that will present some unique opportunities for the Columbus community."

Over the next few months, the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, The Ohio State University and Nationwide Arena will work to construct a package that highlights the strengths of the Columbus community that sets it apart from other host cities, while communicating our continuing commitment to make the experiences of the student-athletes, coaches and fans our top priority.

"We are excited to be advancing in the process as we know the competition is fierce," said Greater Columbus Sports Commission Executive Director Linda Logan. "Hosting the Women’s Final Four will be monumental for our community in various ways. The Women’s Final Four will create national visibility and image building opportunities for Columbus, attract fans that would generate strong visitor spending, and spark the creation on long-lasting community programs."

Our final bid package will be submitted to the NCAA and the Women’s Basketball Committee on May 2 and will include the requisite public and private funding needed to support the event.Following the bid submission will be a site visit conducted by the NCAA and members of the selection committee in early Fall with key LOC leadership presenting to the full Division I Women’s Basketball Committee in November. A final decision is expected by late November.

Columbus’ long-desired aspiration to be a leading sports destination for women’s athletics is being realized. Last fall, Columbus was awarded the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball National Championships, with Ohio State, and the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Elite Eight and National Championships, with Ohio Dominican, for the first time. In 2012, Columbus hosted one of the country’s largest sporting events in the USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships; also for the first time.

(Press release from the Greater Columbus Sports Commission and Ohio State Athletics Communications)