WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Mike Turner and U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) applauded a decision by the NCAA to select the University of Dayton as the host site for opening round games of the NCAA Men’s Division 1 basketball tournament through 2018.
“Today, the NCAA recognized the importance of hosting the First Four in Dayton. Last week, I was proud to highlight Dayton’s distinct capabilities and to urge the NCAA to keep the opening of March Madness in Dayton. We are grateful that the NCAA agreed and that Dayton’s tradition of tremendous attendance, strong fan experience and record ratings for the NCAA’s First Four will continue,” Turner said.
“I congratulate the University of Dayton on their selection as host for the NCAA Final Four games. Today’s announcement reaffirms what so many of us have long known – Dayton is a city that has so much to offer to visitors, and I am excited about the economic impact these games will bring to the region.” Portman said.
“Today’s decision by the NCAA is a slam dunk for Dayton and basketball fans throughout Ohio,” Brown said. “For more than a decade, Dayton and the Miami Valley have been exceptional hosts of the opening round games. By continuing to start the tournament in Dayton, the NCAA selection committee has reaffirmed Dayton’s important place in the tournament.”
Earlier this month, Brown, Portman, and Turner sent a letter to NCAA President Dr. Mark Emmert urging the NCAA to select the University of Dayton as the host for the First Four games. The letter pointed to long-standing support of leaders and the community for the tournament. In 2013, the First Round games generated more than $4.5 million in revenue for the Dayton-area.
The full letter to the NCAA can be seen below.
November 12, 2014
Dr. Mark Emmert
National Collegiate Athletic Association
P.O. Box 6222
Indianapolis, Indiana 46206-6222
Dear Dr. Emmert:
We write in support of the University of Dayton’s (UD) bid to continue hosting the opening round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament through 2018. We also urge the NCAA to strongly consider expanding the community’s opportunities to host additional tournament games.
The Dayton region’s exceptional capability to host nationally and internationally renowned events makes it the ideal area to continue hosting the “First Four.” Dayton is located within a day’s drive of sixty percent of the U.S. population and has three international airports within 100 miles (Dayton International, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International, and Port Columbus International), making it easily accessible for visitors and fans from around the country.
UD and the surrounding community have also played a proud role in the NCAA Tournament’s history. UD Arena has hosted more tournament games – 105 – than any other site in the country and for the past fifteen years has served as the home for both the annual play-in game and the “First Four.” The city of Dayton has embraced these games, with UD Arena being filled to capacity each of the last two years and the community actively creating outstanding experiences for the fans who visit. The city of Dayton has also taken the additional step of holding welcome events for visiting schools and the fans attending the games. This past March, the tournament helped generate $4.5 million in revenue for the Dayton-area economy and the NCAA saw record ratings for the “First Four” portion of the tournament.
The “First Four” in Dayton has been such a success that President Barack Obama hosted British Prime Minister David Cameron at the event in 2012 to provide the visiting head-of-state a front-row seat at the opening of the annual tournament. Prime Minister Cameron was on an official visit to the United States for important foreign policy discussions.
We urge you to commit to continue hosting the opening round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in Dayton, and ask that you consider expanding the tournament’s presence in the area. The people of Ohio and the city of Dayton look forward each year to participating in this event. Thank you for your consideration.