Dallas is one of seven finalist cities as a site for a future Women’s Final Four, the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee announced. The Big 12 Conference would serve as the host as the process to identify the Women’s Final Four locations for 2017-2020 will conclude in November 2014.
“The Big 12 has a long and successful history of hosting NCAA basketball competition and we are excited to move forward in the process,” said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby.
The American Airlines Center will serve as Dallas’ proposed competition venue. Other local venues would be identified to host “Hoop City,” an interactive fan experience, as well as the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association annual meeting and trade show.
“We’re thrilled that Dallas has been selected as a finalist to host a future Women’s Final Four,” said Dru Hancock, Big 12 Senior Associate Commissioner. “We look forward to showcasing our city and venue, and to bringing the NCAA's premier women's basketball event to the North Texas area.”
The Big 12 and Dallas joined forces to host a 2011 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Regional at the American Airlines Center which drew over 21,000 fans for the two sessions, including 11,508 for the final between Baylor and Texas A&M.
The 2013 Phillips 66 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship was also contested at the AAC with the average attendance of 7,037 ranking second in Conference history. The Championship will return to Dallas in 2015.
“We are honored to be considered as a finalist to host the Women’s Final Four”, said Dave Brown, EVP and General Manager of the American Airlines Center and 2013-14 chair of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The Women’s Final Four is the premier championship in women’s sports and Dallas is the best city in the country to showcase the competition and provide a great experience for the teams and fans in attendance.”
Dallas and the North Texas area have staged numerous other NCAA events, including the 2014 Men’s Final Four to be contested in Arlington. Dallas served as the site of the 1986 men’s championship.
Other finalist cities under consideration during the 2017-20 bid cycle are Columbus, Houston, Nashville, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay.
Completed bids are due in May, with the committees and staff spending the summer reviewing each bid before making site visits to each finalist city in August, September and October. Representatives from each finalist city will make in-person presentations to the committee during their annual fall meetings in early November 2014 in Indianapolis, followed by the announcement of the winning bids later that month.
Prospective bid cities had until mid-October 2013 to submit a declaration of intent to bid, a draft budget, hotel rates and confirmation of adherence to the NCAA’s bid specifications by mid-November. The women’s basketball staff and select committee members met with representatives of each city’s host committee in December and updated the women’s basketball committee at meetings in San Diego earlier in January. When evaluating prospective hosts, the committee will review each city’s competition venue, transportation and lodging, and the region’s overall commitment to the event. For the Women’s Final Four, venues must hold a minimum of 18,000 fans.