By: Daniel Massa – Staff Writer
The University of Dayton submitted bids to the NCAA for the rights to host future NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament games Aug. 6 with an expected decision date from the NCAA in early Dec. 2014.
The bids span the 2016, 2017 and 2018 tournaments and apply to both the First Four, which the university has hosted since its inception in 2011, and second and third round games, which were last played in Dayton in 2013.
Fans will have to wait before marking their calendars for Dayton’s next NCAA tournament dates. Scott DeBolt, Senior Associate Athletic Director at UD as well as the director of UD Arena, expects the NCAA to announce the bid winners for 2016-18 around Dec 1. The First Four has already been confirmed for 2015, with games at UD Arena March 17 and 18.
DeBolt is confident that Dayton’s legacy of success in not only hosting tournament games, but providing participating student-athletes with a great experience, position the area to continue its partnership with the NCAA as a tournament host.
“It would have to be a really tough bid or a change in philosophy for the NCAA to take it someplace else,” DeBolt said.
According to UD alum Matt Farrell, who represents the community on the bid organizing committee, bids contain any information the NCAA requests in regards to hosting an event and take into account factors such as ticket sales projections, hotel space and other information about logistics and the surrounding area.
As the host of the First Four and second and third round games in 2013, Dayton made NCAA tournament history as the first single site to host 10 games during a single tournament. Dayton also holds the national record of 105 total tournament games as a host.
As with any large-scale, community-wide project, there is a lot of teamwork involved throughout the bidding process. The local organizing committee or LOC, chaired by local business leader and UD alum J.P. Nauseef, has many UD alumni on the board comprised of 50 local leaders representing various industries, businesses, government and civic organizations.
“The work of the LOC is praised around the country,” Farrell said. “From ticket sales, to tickets donated to Wright-Patt and local students… the work of the LOC is a huge reason why Dayton has been so successful as a host.”
Debolt assumes the role of tournament manager in March when the NCAA comes to town, working with the local organizing committee, the visitors’ bureau, and the NCAA.
“As the tournament manager, I am the liaison with the NCAA Men’s Basketball staff,” DeBolt said. “I work hand-in-hand with them coordinating anything that they need.”
Both DeBolt and Farrell feel the Dayton region and the NCAA benefit greatly from their partnership, which has included at least one NCAA tournament game in Dayton every year since 2001. While the NCAA enjoys the ticket sales and TV exposure, Dayton and the surrounding area benefit from a hefty economic impact.
“It’s a no-brainer for the Dayton Region and it’s a no-brainer for the NCAA,” DeBolt said.
DeBolt estimates the economic impact of hosting the First Four comes out to around $4.5 million coming into the Dayton region, with about triple that amount flowing in when second and third round games are hosted here as well. These figures do not calculate the free, earned media value and exposure created for the university and the community.
In order to maximize the impact on the community from hosting the NCAA Tournament, the local organizing committee created The Big Hoopla in the fall of 2011, according to Farrell.
The Big Hoopla organizes several events around the time of the tournament and also serves as a charitable organization, giving away tickets to Airmen from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and local students.
The Big Hoopla’s events offering include a basketball and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education event for grade school students in addition to the Hoopla Four Miler, a community running event which takes place on Selection Sunday, the day all matchups in the NCAA tournament are announced.
While The Big Hoopla spikes local interest in the NCAA Tournament, Farrell said people in the Dayton area do not need much convincing to attend a game or at least take part in an event leading up to the tournament.
“The fans in the Dayton region are America’s most passionate college basketball fans,” Farrell said. “This message was echoed by nearly every national media outlet throughout the Flyer’s Elite Eight run last spring.”
“We feel confident and believe we have positioned ourselves to capitalize based on the results the community has delivered over the last few years,” Farrell added.