Could Arizona land another Final Four?

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(Source: Twitter @FinalFour) (Source: Twitter @FinalFour)

The Valley ended a drought in 2017, luring the Final Four to town. It was the First Final Four in the western time zone since 1995. This weekend, Phoenix’s Local Organizing Committee(PLOC) will take a shot at landing the next Final Four out west.

“There’s nothing like proof in the pudding, so to speak,” said Tom Burnett, an NCAA Basketball Committee member. 

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“This is just a great place for it. As we know, that time of year weather is great. It's just very inviting for outsiders. Having been here in 17 as an outsider myself, it was one of the best Final Four experience I can remember and I've been going to this event for 30 years."

The Final Four could be played in the Valley as soon as 2024. There’s some competition to land the event with Los Angeles and Las Vegas building football stadiums that could provide a similar set up to Glendale.

“Los Angeles is currently in this bid cycle as well,” said Burnett, who’s also the Southland Conference Commissioner. 

“There will be a team out there to check out construction on new facility. It's been so long since that even has been in Southern California. I'm sure there's a lot of work to do to figure all that out. So that's in play. Las Vegas, I don't think we're quite there yet. Obviously there's been some changes with NCAA and some of the national gambling issues. But who knows? If there's a great facility out west, a third facility perhaps? I think that's something we'd have to pay attention to."

Phoenix’s Final Four bid is a collaboration of municipal, sports and tourism organizations. The Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, the City of Phoenix, the City of Glendale, the Arizona Office of Tourism and the Arizona Cardinals make up the host committee, which is being called the Phoenix Local Organizing Committee (PLOC). Arizona State is the host institution. The parties involved in the Valley’s bid are keenly aware of the competition to land the Final Four. The ASU WP Carey School of Business estimates the 2017 Final Four had a $324.5 million economic impact.

“There is no doubt that people saw that and took note of it,” said Debbie Johnson, Arizona’s Office of Tourism’s Executive Director. “This is not something where we're resting on our laurels saying ‘we did a great job, we're in.’ Not at all. We've heard about hotel rooms, improvements to the stadium, ways to boost downtown. The best thing is we've got a big community here in Maricopa County. Everybody is all in. That's what I love. We meet on regular basis.  They're like, ‘what do you need?’ All these cities working together."

The Final Four requires 10,000 hotel rooms. University of Phoenix Stadium will be 18 years old in 2024 and will have undergone an estimated $100 million in upgrades. The Final Four is also hoping to upgrade its experience.

“The one thing that we see in communities like this, they continue to grow. They continue to be focused on what's next. We see that in Glendale, and downtown with new construction. The Final Four kind of fits in to all that because we're trying to build something new and try to make it bigger and better,” said Burnett. “I don't see an issues, as early as 24. Can't quite commit. Is it 25, or 26? These are things the committee needs to review as we get deeper into this process.”

The PLOC will make a final presentation to the NCAA on July 11 in Boston. A decision is expected shortly thereafter.

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