First Four at UD Arena extended through 2026

Since opening in 1969, UD Arena has been an important part of the history of the Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, and that history will now continue through 2026. Photo courtesy of Flyer News.

Peter Burtnett
Sports Editor

In an NCAA announcement of more than 450 site selections for future championships, the NCAA’s agreement with the University of Dayton to host the First Four in the Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament at UD Arena was extended through 2026.

With this extension, UD Arena will extend its streak of tipping off the tournament to 26 years by the end of the extension. Hosting the Opening Round (play-in game) from 2001-10, the current First Four format with eight teams has been played at UD Arena since 2011.

The arena itself has hosted more tournament games than any other venue (125), and has hosted games in 33 of its 51 years of use.

“We are proud that the University of Dayton, The Big Hoopla, and our community partners will continue to be the tip-off for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship,” UD Vice-President and Director of Athletics Neil Sullivan said. “We are about two things when it comes to hosting the NCAA tournament – a championship experience for the student-athletes and teams involved, and capacity crowds to ignite the tournament and present our community in the best possible light.

“We appreciate that the NCAA has entrusted all of us in the Dayton region with this responsibility.  It is not something that we take lightly. It’s great that UD Arena will continue to be part of one of the nation’s premier sporting events.”

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