The NCAA has revealed Men’s Division I Basketball Final Four sites for 2023-2026, a group that includes several high-profile football stadiums.
As selected by the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, the Final Four sites for 2023-2026 will run in the order of Houston (NRG Stadium), Phoenix (University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale), San Antonio (Alamodome), and Indianapolis (Lucas Oil Stadium). All but one of those facilities, Alamodome, is currently the home of an NFL franchise and they are all experienced in hosting high-profile events. That group was chosen over additional pitches from Detroit, Los Angeles, and North Texas (Dallas/Arlington).
The Final Four will return to Houston for a fourth time in 2023. The city hosted in 1971, when UCLA won its fifth of what would be seven consecutive national championships. The event returned in 2011, when UConn defeated Butler to win the title, and again in 2016, when Villanova downed North Carolina in one of the most thrilling games in the tournament’s history. After the Tar Heels’ Marcus Paige drained a game-tying three-pointer with 4.7 seconds remaining, Kris Jenkins answered with a buzzer-beating three-pointer to lift the Wildcats to a 77-74 win. Houston, which has hosted various rounds of March Madness 13 times, will also host the 2020 South Regional.
Phoenix will be the site of the 2024 event, marking the second Final Four in that city’s history. This will be the seventh time the Phoenix/Glendale area has hosted the tournament, with the last time being the 2017 Final Four, when North Carolina edged Gonzaga for the championship after losing in the title game in heartbreaking fashion the prior season. This will be just the second Final Four to take place in the western part of the country since 1995. The 2024 Final Four will also mark the second major event at University of Phoenix Stadium in as many years, as the facility has already been selected as the host of Super Bowl LVII in 2023.
San Antonio has been a common site for the Final Four in recent years, having previously hosted the event in 1998, 2004, 2008 and again last spring. The Alamo city has hosted various rounds of the tournament 10 times and will also host the 2022 South Regional. San Antonio will host the Final Four for a fifth time in 2025, joining Kansas City, Indianapolis, New York, Louisville, New Orleans and Seattle as the only cities to do so. Four powerhouse programs — Kentucky, UConn, Kansas and Villanova — have won national championships in San Antonio.
Indianapolis, which will host its eighth Final Four in 2021, was selected to stage a ninth in 2026. Only Kansas City, which was the site of 10 Final Fours from 1940-88, has been the site of more. Indianapolis first hosted the Final Four in 1980. The Circle City hosted for a second time in 1991 and became a regular in the rotation from there, serving as the host again in 1997, 2000, 2006, 2010 and 2015. Duke has won three (1991, 2010, 2015) of the seven national championships crowned in Indianapolis, while Louisville, Arizona, Michigan State and Florida captured the others. The home of the NCAA’s headquarters since 1999, Indianapolis has hosted March Madness 23 times dating back to 1940. The city will also host the 2020 Midwest Regional.
“This extremely competitive process mirrored the championship’s selections meeting, with the committee having lengthy conversations about the pros and cons of seven attractive and qualified locations,” said Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s senior vice president of basketball. “We are thrilled for the cities of Houston, Phoenix, San Antonio and Indianapolis. All those cities have hosted the event with overwhelming success in recent years, and yet all of them approached the bid process with an unassuming energy. We look forward to bringing the NCAA’s marquee championship back to those locations.”
The 2019 Final Four will take place in Minneapolis, while Atlanta will host the 2020 event, Indianapolis will be the site for the 2021 Final Four and New Orleans will host in 2022.
Image of University of Phoenix Stadium courtesy Arizona Cardinals.