The NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee has started the process of determining the next potential Women's Final Four locations for 2017 through 2020.
The committee made bid specifications available last week to prospective Women's Final Four hosts, with the intention of announcing the selected cities in November 2014. Bidding for future Women's Final Four cities is taking place at the same time as the process takes place for the Men's Final Four.
"When a hosting community can expect 30,000 visitors and a direct economic impact of approximately 20 million dollars, we know interest will be high in hosting a future Women's Final Four," said Carolayne Henry, chair of the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee and senior associate commissioner and senior woman administrator at the Mountain West Conference. "We will be looking to identify those cities that aspire to take one of America's premiere women's sporting events to the next level."
Prospective cities have until Oct. 11 to submit a declaration of intent to bid. The cities then will submit an adherence to NCAA competition venue bid specifications, proposed budget and summary of hotel availability and rates for official consideration by Dec. 6. Based on the recent women's basketball white paper recommendations, additional consideration will be given to cities interested in bidding to host NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship events, including regionals and the Women's Final Four in consecutive years or on a rotational basis. After the NCAA women's basketball staff meets with representatives of each city's host committee in December, the women's basketball committee will announce finalists in January 2014.
Completed bids from the finalists will be due in May 2014. The committee and staff will spend the summer reviewing each bid before making site visits to each finalist city next fall. Representatives from each finalist city will make in-person presentations to the committee during its annual fall meeting, followed by the announcement of the winning bids in November 2014.
When evaluating prospective hosts, the committee will review each city's competition venue, transportation and lodging and the region's overall commitment to the event. Venues must hold a minimum of 18,000 fans, including suite seats.
"This is a new era in hosting NCAA women's basketball championship events and we expect for there to be great interest," said Anucha Browne, NCAA vice president, women's basketball championships. "We are in the midst of many philosophical and fundamental changes to the structure of the championship and will be interested to see what possibilities exist in the hosting communities as we advance the preliminary rounds of the championship and Women's Final Four."
The 2014 Women's Final Four will be played in Nashville, followed by Tampa Bay in 2015 and Indianapolis in 2016.