Indy vies to host NCAA Final Four in ’18, ’20

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(WISH Photo/Brett Bensley)

MARION COUNTY (WISH) — As Indianapolis prepares to host the 2015 NCAA Final Four, the city is also vying for future years.

Indianapolis has a close relationship with the NCAA. Recently, the circle city held the Final Four in 2006 and 2010, and will again in 2015, which will be the seventh year total. But after that, there are no guarantees. So Indy advocates are eagerly waiting for the association’s decision, expected Friday.

“We feel very good about our chances of getting a future final four,” Visit Indy President and CEO Leonard Hoops said.

Visit Indy is one of several organizations trying to convince the NCAA that Indianapolis is the best place for college basketball’s biggest event.

“Being the number one convention city in America, which we think translates well as to be a great special events city,” Hoops said.

The economic impact would be huge. An event like the Final Four comes with a $45 to 50 million spending range, according to Hoops. He said the city meets all the basic requirements and more.

“We’ve got Lucas Oil Stadium, which was designed in-part with the NCAA’s help to host these kinds of events. We feel very confident we’ve got the best venue,” Hoops said.

The city also has a memorandum of understanding with the NCAA. It’s a good faith agreement that Indy will get special consideration for big events.

“The key to that MOU is that Indianapolis must continue to be competitive with other cities that are bidding on it. So, as the competition increases and they raise their bids, we have to keep competitive with those bids,” Hoops said.

But unlike a scoreboard where it’s easy to tell who’s winning, Hoops and other bidders could not observe the other presentations. So it’s hard to predict which cities will be picked Friday.

“This particular bid cycle is 17, 18, 19, and 20, so in theory, we could still be in a rotation but not get one of these four,” Hoops said.

Indianapolis specifically put in bids for 2018 and 2020. Since the Circle City hosted in 2010 and now will in 2015, 2020 may end up being the logical choice.

The other host sites in the hunt are Atlanta, Minneapolis, New Orleans, North Texas, Phoenix, San Antonio and St. Louis.

The NCAA will announce their picks Friday between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Watch 24-Hour News 8 Friday for the results.

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