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Las Vegas finalist to host an NCAA Final Four

Updated July 28, 2022 - 4:59 pm

Las Vegas could host an NCAA men’s basketball Final Four at Allegiant Stadium as early as 2027.

Sometime in mid-November, the NCAA will announce the host cities for five future Final Fours occurring between 2027 and 2031, according to Lisa Motley, senior director of sports and special events for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Las Vegas is one of the cities under consideration, she said.

“We’re confident,” Motley said of Las Vegas’ chance of landing one of the Final Four dates.

Seven cities were deemed finalists for the five-year span of Final Fours. Although Motley didn’t name the six other markets in play, she did note that Las Vegas is the only one on the West Coast in contention.

NCAA officials did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The Final Four includes three games. The last four remaining teams from an opening field of 68 face off in a pair of semifinal games on Saturday, usually the first weekend in April. The winners of those two games then play for the national championship the following Monday.

The bid process has played out fairly quickly, with the LVCVA first signaling its intent to bid for the selected years in December. In January, the agency submitted the critical documents to the NCAA and then met with the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee in February.

“Then all of our final documents were due in May,” Motley said. “In May, they told us we had made it to the next round. Now we are waiting for site visits and the finalization of documents.”

Getting such advance notice on possibly being awarded a large event such as the Final Four is critical for planning around other major events, Motley said.

“All these major marquee event bids that we do, you have to sign (a document) that says you won’t host another marquee event in the same year,” Motley said. “Which is fine, we want to spread them out… But I do think it puts the NCAA on the clock to ‘Why didn’t we select Las Vegas,’ if we don’t get selected.”

Las Vegas will get its first taste of March Madness this coming season when it will host the men’s West regionals at T-Mobile Arena.

Motley believes the success of this year’s NFL draft, held in Las Vegas in April, should bode well when the NCAA makes its decision on which of the seven cities are awarded one of the five Final Fours.

“I think it shows that, yes, we can host a ‘better than perfect’ draft, but I think they all look at theirs individually,” Motley said. “As what their event could mean to our destination or how we host their events. I think we show so well, this city is so easy to sell.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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