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Minnesota Launches Bid for NCAA Final Four Tournament

6/3/2014 10:14:43 AM

ST. PAUL, MN - On the heels of Minnesota securing the 2018 Super Bowl, Governor Mark Dayton today announced an organized campaign to bring the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Final Four men's basketball tournament to Minnesota. The bid announced today (for tournament years 2017-2020) would bring one of the nation's most-watched collegiate tournaments to the new Minnesota Multi-Purpose Stadium in Minneapolis.

"Hosting the NCAA Final Four would bring tens of thousands of visitors to Minnesota, and put our state center-stage during one of the most-watched sporting events of the year," said Governor Dayton. "We plan to pursue this opportunity, and the economic benefits that come with it, with the same enthusiasm and creativity that secured the 2018 Super Bowl."

In announcing Minnesota's bid for the Final Four, Governor Dayton today named Mary Brainerd, President and CEO of HealthPartners, Inc. and David Mortenson, President of Mortenson Construction, as co-chairs of the Minnesota Final Four Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will be comprised of representatives from Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA), Meet Minneapolis, and the University of Minnesota.

"Minnesota's new multi-purpose stadium has been designed from the onset to accommodate preeminent national events such as the NCAA Final Four Tournament," said Mortenson. "We believe there is no better venue or region for this event, and it will provide an opportunity to again showcase Minnesota to the nation and the world. We will work hard with the University of Minnesota and our strategic partners to present a bid that showcases all that our region has to offer."

Lessons learned from Minnesota's recent experience in putting together the successful Super Bowl LII bid demonstrated that these efforts require the energy, effort and collaboration of our community and business leadership to be successful.

"The Final Four will be a terrific and engaging event for our entire community, with events like Bracket Town, Tip-Off Tailgate and March Madness Music Festival. Like the Super Bowl, the Final Four now includes many events and lots to offer over several days," said Brainerd. "There will be many opportunities for fans and visitors to take part and experience the hospitality of our entire region."

Governor Dayton also named two honorary co-chairs from the Minnesota sports world to help support Minnesota's bid for the Final Four. Lindsay Whalen, guard for the Minnesota Lynx and former University of Minnesota women's basketball star, and Trent Tucker, former NBA player and University of Minnesota men's basketball star, will serve as honorary co-chairs.

"As director of athletics for Minneapolis Public Schools, I look forward to working with our co-chairs and the NCAA on the youth programs that are a major component in the bid process and in the legacy that follows the championship game," said Tucker, who as part of Minnesota's bid for the Final Four will work with the NCAA to provide youth clinics for students in grades 3 through 8 to discuss sportsmanship, wellness and injury prevention.

If Minnesota is selected as host, it will be the fourth time it has hosted a Final Four. Previous events took place in Minnesota in 1951, 1992, and 2001.

"I have attended Final Four games and events, and am truly excited to be involved in working to bring them to my hometown," said Whalen. "Our new stadium, connected downtown, and fanatical basketball community will welcome all NCAA fans. We are more than ready to host the Final Four again in Minnesota."

The University of Minnesota will also work closely with Minnesota's steering committee and co-chairs to bring the Final Four to Minnesota.

I have witnessed firsthand the benefits a Final Four brings to a city, state and University, said Minnesota Director of Athletics Norwood Teague. I am extremely proud of the bid submitted by Minnesota and the University of Minnesota on behalf of its businesses, residents and students, and am excited by the prospect of hosting one of the greatest sporting events in the country.

About Minnesota's Bid for the NCAA Final Four Tournament
Minnesota was named a finalist in January 2014 along with Atlanta, Indianapolis, New Orleans, North Texas, Phoenix, San Antonio and St. Louis for the 2017-2020 tournaments. Minnesota's goal will be to secure the 2019 or 2020 Men's Final Four games, as a regional championship game will be held in the Final Four site the preceding year.

A Minnesota Final Four tournament would be held in the new, iconic Minnesota Multi-Purpose Stadium, which is currently under construction and will be completed in 2016. Last month, Minnesota was awarded Super Bowl LII, to be held in the facility in February 2018.

Bid documents were submitted to the NCAA on May 9, including all requested details, such as hotel contracts for 13,131 rooms utilizing 98 hotels in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Bloomington and the greater metro area.

Mortenson and Brainerd will lead a site visit with the NCAA in the fall. A decision is expected in November.

For more information about the state's effort to bring the Final Four to Minnesota, visit

Potential Economic Impact of the Tournament
The Minnesota Final Four Steering Committee is working to assess the potential economic impact the tournament could have in Minnesota. The Final Four tournament can bring a large economic impact to the host community. It is always difficult to project economic impact. However, reviewing the economic impact on other host committees over the last four years, the economic impact could be anywhere between $70 million to $200 million. Atlanta Convention and Business Bureau reported an estimated $70 million impact in 2013. New Orleans projected an impact of $135 million in 2012 and Dallas projected an impact of $275 million in 2014. Multiple events associated with the tournament are held throughout the region.


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