ST. PAUL, MN – On the heels of Minnesota securing the 2018 Super Bowl, Governor Mark Dayton today announced an organized campaign to bring the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Final Four men’s basketball tournament to Minnesota. The bid announced today (for tournament years 2017-2020) would bring one of the nation’s most-watched collegiate tournaments to the new Minnesota Multi-Purpose Stadium in Minneapolis.
“Hosting the NCAA Final Four would bring tens of thousands of visitors to Minnesota, and put our state center-stage during one of the most-watched sporting events of the year,” said Governor Dayton. “We plan to pursue this opportunity, and the economic benefits that come with it, with the same enthusiasm and creativity that secured the 2018 Super Bowl.”
In announcing Minnesota’s bid for the Final Four, Governor Dayton today named Mary Brainerd, President and CEO of HealthPartners, Inc. and David Mortenson, President of Mortenson Construction, as co-chairs of the Minnesota Final Four Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will be comprised of representatives from Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA), Meet Minneapolis, and the University of Minnesota.
“Minnesota’s new multi-purpose stadium has been designed from the onset to accommodate preeminent national events such as the NCAA Final Four Tournament,” said Mortenson. “We believe there is no better venue or region for this event, and it will provide an opportunity to again showcase Minnesota to the nation and the world. We will work hard with the University of Minnesota and our strategic partners to present a bid that showcases all that our region has to offer.”
Lessons learned from Minnesota’s recent experience in putting together the successful Super Bowl LII bid demonstrated that these efforts require the energy, effort and collaboration of our community and business leadership to be successful.
“The Final Four will be a terrific and engaging event for our entire community, with events like Bracket Town, Tip-Off Tailgate and March Madness Music Festival. Like the Super Bowl, the Final Four now includes many events and lots to offer over several days,” said Brainerd. “There will be many opportunities for fans and visitors to take part and experience the hospitality of our entire region.”
Governor Dayton also named two honorary co-chairs from the Minnesota sports world to help support Minnesota’s bid for the Final Four. Lindsay Whalen, guard for the Minnesota Lynx and former University of Minnesota women’s basketball star, and Trent Tucker, former NBA player and University of Minnesota men’s basketball star, will serve as honorary co-chairs.
“As director of athletics for Minneapolis Public Schools, I look forward to working with our co-chairs and the NCAA on the youth programs that are a major component in the bid process and in the legacy that follows the championship game,” said Tucker, who as part of Minnesota’s bid for the Final Four will work with the NCAA to provide youth clinics for students in grades 3 through 8 to discuss sportsmanship, wellness and injury prevention.
If Minnesota is selected as host, it will be the fourth time it has hosted a Final Four. Previous events took place in Minnesota in 1951, 1992, and 2001.
“I have attended Final Four games and events, and am truly excited to be involved in working to bring them to my hometown,” said Whalen. “Our new stadium, connected downtown, and fanatical basketball community will welcome all NCAA fans. We are more than ready to host the Final Four again in Minnesota.”
The University of Minnesota will also work closely with Minnesota’s steering committee and co-chairs to bring the Final Four to Minnesota.