In announcements made by the NCAA today, the Fort Wayne Mastodons and Manchester University Spartans were selected to host a total of five separate NCAA basketball championships events, starting in 2019, all taking place at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
Visit Fort Wayne and the Memorial Coliseum partnered with both local institutions to submit a total of 25 bids during the summer of 2016, for events taking place from 2019 to 2022. The NCAA announced championship event hosts for all sports in all three divisions for all four years.
“Fort Wayne has a proud tradition of basketball and hosting visitors, and these events will be excellent opportunities to expand our sports tourism resume,” adds Dan O’Connell, President of Visit Fort Wayne.
For Division I, Fort Wayne was selected to host a Women’s Basketball Regional event, March 27-30, 2020, which will send a representative to the Women’s Final Four in New Orleans. Visit Fort Wayne estimates that the economic impact for the local community will be $1.2 million for this one event.
“This is a great day for the city and the university,” Fort Wayne Athletic Director Kelley Hartley Hutton said. “I’m thankful for Visit Fort Wayne and the Coliseum for their hard work on this successful bid. We are looking forward to creating a first class experience for visitors and student-athletes.”
For Division III, Manchester was selected to host the men’s basketball Division III Final Four in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022. Dates are March 15-16 (2019); March 18-19 (2020); March 19-20 (2021); and March 20-21 (2022). The successful bid process concludes what will be a 23-year stay in Salem, Virginia, at the end of 2017-18.
The last time the Division III men’s basketball Final Four wasn’t in Salem was 1995, a year Manchester University fans remember well as the Spartans, under the guidance of former head coach Steve Alford, made their memorable run to the national championship game in Buffalo, N.Y.
Visit Fort Wayne estimates that the economic impact for the local community will be $575,000 for each of the four years that the event was awarded to Fort Wayne.