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Monday, Oct 22, 2018
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Tampa to host women’s Final Four in 2019

Tampa, which has quickly become a go-to site for big-time NCAA events, has added another championship to its sports calendar.

Amalie Arena, which will host the women’s basketball Final Four for the second time in April, was chosen to host the national semifinals and final again in 2019.

The University of South Florida will serve as host school for the event, slated for April 5-7, 2019.

The arena also hosted the Women’s Final Four in 2008.

“We couldn’t be more honored,” tweeted Rob Higgins, executive director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, which made the presentation to the NCAA Division I women’s basketball committee.

It’s the latest in a line major college championships lured to the area, including a second hockey Frozen Four in 2016, the 2017 college national championship at Raymond James Stadium, the 2018 men’s track and field regional meet at USF, the 2015 men’s and women’s golf championships in Bradenton, and the 2022 SEC men’s basketball tournament at Amalie Arena.

Plus, the University of Tampa will host four Division II championships, including volleyball in 2015, track and field in 2016 and 2017, and women’s lacrosse in 2018.

In recent years, the area has also hosted the 1999 men’s Final Four at Tropicana Field, several basketball preliminary rounds, the ACC football championship in 2008 and 2009, the 2012 Frozen Four, and the 2009 NCAA volleyball championships.

According to a NCAA consultant’s study, the 2008 Women’s Final Four generated more than $19 million in direct economic impact in the Tampa Bay area.

The study said there were 22,595 visitors to the Tampa Bay area for the various events, including the Hoop City fan area. Each visitor stayed an average of 4.2 days and spent an average of $208 per day.

When Tampa was awarded the 2015 Women’s Final Four, the committee cited the city’s successful presentation of the 2008 event as key.

The event — which included women’s basketball powerhouses Tennessee, Connecticut, Stanford and LSU — was widely praised by NCAA administrators for its organization and hospitality. Tennessee defeated Stanford in the final.

Dallas (2017), Columbus (2018) and New Orleans (2020) were also chosen to host Women’s Final Fours on Monday. Indianapolis was previously selected for the 2016 event.

“Dallas, Columbus, Tampa Bay and New Orleans each demonstrated that they will continue to raise the bar on the event while enhancing the experience for our student-athletes, coaches and fans,” said Dru Hancock, the committee’s chairwoman, said in a news release Monday. “We look forward to our work together as we continue to build this important event.”

It will be the first time that Dallas and Columbus will be the site of the national semifinals. Dallas hosted the men’s Final Four last season.

The 2017 Final Four will mark the first time since 2003 that the women’s national semifinals will be played on Friday with the championship game Sunday. That will align it with the preliminary rounds which will be played on a Friday-Sunday and Saturday-Monday format starting this season.

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