WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) and U.S. Rep. Michael Turner (OH-10) joined in a letter to NCAA President Dr. Mark Emmert in support of the University of Dayton’s bid to remain the host for the opening round of NCAA Men’s Division 1 basketball tournament through 2018. Dayton has hosted the First Four games since 2011 and has hosted more tournament games than any other site in the country.
“Basketball fans know that March Madness starts in Dayton, Ohio,” Brown said. “For more than a decade, Dayton and the Miami Valley has hosted the opening round games. The tournament provides an economic boost for small businesses and showcases one of Ohio’s top cities. As the NCAA finalizes its site selections for coming years, I urge President Emmert to continue the NCAA’s investment in the City of Dayton.”
“The City of Dayton has proven over the years that it is well positioned to host the NCAA Final Four tournament,” Portman said. “From its great universities, restaurants, to an arena for the games, Dayton offers an exceptional package.”
“The University of Dayton and our southwest Ohio community have demonstrated a track record of success in hosting the opening of the annual NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball tournament.
Dayton’s geographical location, proximity to international airports, and large committed fan base have been critical to the sizable attendance, fan experience, and record ratings the NCAA has received while Dayton has hosted the 'First Four.' Additionally, President Obama’s decision to bring a visiting head of state to the 2012 “First Four" in Dayton further establishes the wide recognition of the distinctive capability of our region to host internationally and nationally prominent events. I strongly urge you to continue hosting the “First Four” in Dayton and to further consider our region for additional opportunities to host tournament games,” Congressman Turner said.
In its letter, the delegation pointed to long-standing support of leaders and the community for the tournament. In 2013, the First Round games generated more than $4.5 million in revenue for the Dayton-area. The letter also urges the NCAA to consider expanding the tournament’s presence in Ohio.
The full letter to the NCAA can be seen below.
November 12, 2014
Dr. Mark Emmert
National Collegiate Athletic Association
P.O. Box 6222
Indianapolis, Indiana 46206-6222
Dear Dr. Emmert:
We write in support of the University of Dayton’s (UD) bid to continue hosting the opening round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament through 2018. We also urge the NCAA to strongly consider expanding the community’s opportunities to host additional tournament games.
The Dayton region’s exceptional capability to host nationally and internationally renowned events makes it the ideal area to continue hosting the “First Four.” Dayton is located within a day’s drive of sixty percent of the U.S. population and has three international airports within 100 miles (Dayton International, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International, and Port Columbus International), making it easily accessible for visitors and fans from around the country.
UD and the surrounding community have also played a proud role in the NCAA Tournament’s history. UD Arena has hosted more tournament games – 105 – than any other site in the country and for the past fifteen years has served as the home for both the annual play-in game and the “First Four.” The city of Dayton has embraced these games, with UD Arena being filled to capacity each of the last two years and the community actively creating outstanding experiences for the fans who visit. The city of Dayton has also taken the additional step of holding welcome events for visiting schools and the fans attending the games. This past March, the tournament helped generate $4.5 million in revenue for the Dayton-area economy and the NCAA saw record ratings for the “First Four” portion of the tournament.
The “First Four” in Dayton has been such a success that President Barack Obama hosted British Prime Minister David Cameron at the event in 2012 to provide the visiting head-of-state a front-row seat at the opening of the annual tournament. Prime Minister Cameron was on an official visit to the United States for important foreign policy discussions.
We urge you to commit to continue hosting the opening round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in Dayton, and ask that you consider expanding the tournament’s presence in the area. The people of Ohio and the city of Dayton look forward each year to participating in this event. Thank you for your consideration.