Women's Sport: Arizona to make bid to host NCAA Final Four

Women's Sports: Arizona to Make Bid to Host NCAA Final Four

For the second time, Phoenix has moved to make a bid at hosting the NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four.

At its Wednesday meeting, Phoenix City Council is set to discuss the proposal which will support a region bid to host either the 2025 or 2026 women's Final Four. The City Council must authorise the city's participation if they are selected as a finalist. 

Should Phoenix win the nomination, the final will be held at the soon-to-be renovated Phoenix Suns Talking Stick Arena and will mark the first time the city has hosted. The $230 million renovations is scheduled to be completed by the end of the 2020-21 NBA Season.

The NCAA I women's basketball committee will release the finalists for the 2025 and 2026 bids in late January. Formal bids are to be placed by April 13 with the winning bids announced in late October.

Arizona has already welcomed a plethora of major sporting events such as Super Bowls, the PGA Tour, NASCAR and the NBA All-Star Game, so it seems fitting that they add another achievement to the roster. However, Phoenix/ASU hasn't had the best history with the NCAA, losing out to Cleveland in 2001 in the finals to host the 2007 Women's Final Four.

But, with a determination to land this next bid, downtown Phoenix has upscaled with an expanded convention centre, a light rail system and an increase in hotel rooms.

The Women's Basketball Coaches Association convention also is held in conjunction with the women's Final Four.

Charli Turner Thorne, ASU women's basketball coach, said a Phoenix Final Four "would be amazing. Our community is a great women's basketball community. Clearly, the men's Final Four is a huge hit. The women's is a little bit more intimate. There's not a bad seat in the house. It would easily sell out here.

"It would be great for our program to bring the Final Four to our fans. I can't imagine a better destination. It would be an incredible event."

Women's basketball has succeeded and thrived at the college and professional levels in Arizona with The Mercury winning three WNBA titles (2007, 2009, 2014) during the Diana Taurasi era. A successful bid to host the Final Four would signal a major win for the state and a possible chance for supporters to witness a home victory.

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