Published: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 @ 10:12 AM
By: David Jablonski
DAYTON — The First Four will stay at UD Arena through 2022, the NCAA announced Tuesday. Dayton had secured the games through 2018, and it gets the games for at least four more years.
"We are proud that the University of Dayton, The Big Hoopla, and our community partners will continue to be the tip-off for the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship," UD Vice-President and Director of Athletics Neil Sullivan said in a press release. "We appreciate that the NCAA has entrusted all of us in the Dayton region with this responsibility. It is not something that we take lightly. As in the past, we will continue to deliver capacity crowds and a premier championship experience for teams, tournament officials, fans, visiting media and broadcast partners. It's great that UD Arena will continue to be part of one of the nation's premier sporting events."
UD Arena was not successful its bid to host games in the first or second rounds in 2021 or 2022. Columbus will host the first and second rounds in 2019 at Nationwide Arena. Cincinnati will host the first and second rounds at U.S. Bank Arena in 2022.
UD has played host to the First Four since 2011. Prior to that, the opening-round game of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, or play-in game, was played at UD Arena every season from 2001-10. Dayton sought a 10-year commitment from the NCAA in 2013, but the NCAA decided against a long-term commitment.
Dayton won a three-year bid in 2014, keeping the First Four through 2018. It bid last August to host the games from 2019-22. It also bid at that time to host games in the first and second rounds in 2021 and 2022.
Three other cities bid for the First Four: Evansville, Ind.; Detroit; and Hershey, Pa.
Dayton last hosted games in the first and second rounds in 2013. UD Arena has host 117 NCAA tournament games, more than any other venue. With 20 games in the next five seasons, that number will grow to 137.