On Thursday morning, the NCAA sent out a release formally announcing that the bidding process for the 2017-2020 Final Fours has begun.
Here’s the timeline for the selection process, which takes over a year:
- October 11th: Cities that want to make a bid on a Final Four must declare their intent to.
- November 15th: A draft budget, hotel rates and confirmation of adherence to the NCAA’s bid specifications must be submitted.
- January 2014: After visiting each site, the committee will announce finalists.
- May 2014: The completed bids by the finalists are due.
- November 2014: The committee will spend the summer reviewing those bids and visiting the cities before finally coming to a decision.
Perhaps the most interesting note is that the city must have a venue that holds 60,000 people, which essentially guarantees that the Final Four will be played in domed football stadiums through at least 2020. There was talk, at one point, of moving the Final Four into an NBA arena, which hasn’t been done since 1996.
The past three Final Fours have been held in Houston, New Orleans and Atlanta, with Dallas hosting this season and Indianapolis hosting in 2015 before heading back to Houston in 2016.
The best locations for Final Fours are places where both the stadium and more than a few bars and restaurants are located within walking distance of the hotel. Keeping the crowds in one section of the city while having enough places that it’s possible to get something to eat and a beer without waiting for two hours makes for a great experience. Most Final Four vets will tell you that Indianapolis and New Orleans are the best cities to host, with San Antonio coming in third.