Detroit misses out on Final Four for quite a while

Inside of Lucas Oil Stadium during the 2015 NCAA Final Four National Championship game

Arizona earns hosting duties for 2024 Final Four

The Harris County Houston Sports Authority was ecstatic Monday morning after the city was selected to host the NCAA Men's Final Four tournament in 2023. "We learned many useful lessons in 2017 and will apply our trademark innovation to provide an unforgettable experience for the NCAA, student-athletes, alumni and fans. Our institution looks forward to partnering with the Indiana Sports Corp and Horizon League to make the 2026 Men's Final Four the best one yet".

David Worlock, NCAA director of media coordination, said 2017 was a "very successful Final Four. We had engagement and community participation and that's a great thing".

The College Football Playoff championship also was at University of Phoenix Stadium in 2016.

When metro Phoenix's three-year run hosting mega sporting events ended in 2017, the next one was not on the horizon. Detroit was left out along with other finalists Los Angeles and Dallas.

It's convention and visitors bureaus work together in an unparalleled way. The city was shut out after bidding in 2008 to be a host city in a four-year cycle that started in 2012 and ended in 2015.

The results have been significant.

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In that same span, and including all announced mega-event host sites, no other destination has more than six. "From their (NCAA) standpoint, there was no hesitation to say we're OK doing 2024 because they did it before (after the Super Bowl)". "I think we've really kinda proven that we can do it and we're here to stay", said Johnson. The announcement wrapped up a year-long process that included site visits to each of seven finalist cities and in-person presentations during the committee's annual summer meeting, which took place last week in Boston.

Arizona bid on the Final Four events in 2024, 2025 and 2026 but did not bid on the 2023 event after University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale was awarded the Super Bowl that year.

Johnson wasn't keen about harping on Phoenix's past mega-event history.

The 2018 Men's Final Four, which was held March 30-April 2 in San Antonio had an estimated economic impact of $185 million. Instead, it's just another opportunity to show off what they can do.

But the stadium won't have a chance to top that mark anytime soon. Critics, however, point to events being spread out through the Valley, Uber surge pricing, and the lack of Light Rail, something Glendale nixed again just previous year.

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