Orlando Bids on NCAA Hosting Opportunities

Aug. 7, 2014

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ORLANDO (UCFKnights.com) - The Central Florida Sports Commission (CFSC), in partnership with the University of Central Florida (UCF), the City of Orlando, and Stetson University announced today that Orlando continues its pursuit to be the #1 sports tourism destination by bidding on a number of upcoming NCAA events. Among these bids are the 2nd & 3rd-round games and the regional rounds of the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship for 2016-2018. 

“Sports tourism continues to be a solid investment for host cities,” said John Bisignano, President & CEO of the CFSC. “The business is very competitive and we can compete at the highest levels when we have full support from our community partners. With our enhanced effort and community support, we will be more effective in our pursuit of these marquee sporting events.”

The return of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament would attract thousands of fans from across the United States to the community, generating millions in economic impact for the region. Coming together under the theme of “One Destination, One Team,” the Sports Commission’s strategy includes showing the NCAA that the entire Orlando community supports NCAA Championships.

“One of my priorities for UCF Athletics is to be an indispensable partner to the University and our community. Working with the Central Florida Sports Commission to bring the NCAA Tournament back to Orlando is a very visible example of that partnership,” said Todd Stansbury, UCF Vice President and Director of Athletics. “Fans and supporters from all over the region really showed how great a sporting city we are by helping make the NCAA Tournament games at Amway Center a huge success earlier this year.”

More than fifteen letters of support from tourism and business leaders from throughout the region and the state, including Governor Rick Scott, were submitted to the NCAA as part of the bid. In addition, a destination “sizzle video” has been created with the help of Visit Orlando, to illustrate why Central Florida is the perfect destination for future NCAA events. This video is currently on display at www.CountdownToOrlando.com.

"It was a wonderful treat and an incredible thrill to host NCAA March Madness at the Amway Center this year. Our Central Florida community, along with countless visitors, embraced the action on the court while generating millions in economic impact for the region," said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. "We are eager to be a team player with the NCAA in the future."

The CFSC has a long history of serving as co-host for a variety of NCAA Championships.  Most recently, the 2nd & 3rd-rounds of the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship were held at the Amway Center from March 20-22, 2014, which generated over 14,000 hotel room nights and over $12M in economic impact.  The CFSC also served as co-hosts for two additional NCAA Championships this spring, the 2014 Division II Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships (Seminole County), and the 2014 Division III Women’s Golf Championships (Lake County). The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship was previously hosted in Orlando, with Stetson University serving as host in 1993, 1996, 1999, and at the Amway Arena in 2004.

Future rounds of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship would add to the already growing list of marquee events that will be staged in Central Florida. Earlier this year, the American Athletic Conference awarded their 2016 and 2017 Men’s Basketball Championships to the Amway Center with UCF and the CFSC serving as co-hosts. In addition, the NCAA Division I Women’s College Cup, better known as the Final Four of NCAA Soccer, will be co-hosted by UCF and the CFSC in 2016 and 2017. These championships will be among the first of many premiere events to be held at the new Orlando City Soccer Stadium.