FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 17, 2014
Natasha Feiger, Chicago Sports Commission
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that Chicago has been named the host site for the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship regional. The NCAA made the announcement today on all sites for the tournament. The Big Ten Conference will serve as the official host of the event in collaboration with the Chicago Sports Commission and the United Center.
"I am thrilled that Chicago has been selected as a future host for the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship tournament. Hosting these national events is a great opportunity to showcase Chicago as a first-class sports and tourism destination and we look forward to welcoming NCAA student-athletes, coaches, families and fans from across the country to the most American of American cities, Chicago. From the NCAA men's ‘Frozen Four' to the NFL Draft, and now the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship tournament, Chicago is becoming a destination for athletes and fans alike. I applaud Choose Chicago and the Chicago Sports Commission for their aggressive work to lure these marquee events and many others to our great city."
Chicago has been named the host site for the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Midwest Regional, the NCAA announced on Monday. The Big Ten Conference will serve as the official host of the event in collaboration with the Chicago Sports Commission and the United Center. The conference will be hosting its first NCAA men's basketball regional after managing earlier rounds on four previous occasions.
"The Big Ten is excited to once again host some of the nation's best college basketball teams for the 2016 regional of the NCAA Tournament," said Brad Traviolia, Big Ten Deputy Commissioner, CFO/COO. "We are pleased to continue our partnership with the Chicago Sports Commission and the United Center, and look forward to bringing this great event to the city of Chicago for the fifth time."
"We are honored that the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee has selected Chicago to host the 2016 NCAA Tournament regional. It is a great testament to the incredible partnership that has developed between the Big Ten, Chicago Sports Commission and United Center, as well as Chicago's growing position as one of the premier destinations for sport in the U.S. and around the world," said Kara Bachman, Chicago Sports Commission Executive Director.
The partnership between the Big Ten, Chicago Sports Commission and United Center first came to fruition with Chicago's hosting of the 2013 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament, when the conference set an attendance record with more than 124,000 fans. The three organizations will also collaborate for the 2015, 2019 and 2021 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournaments at the United Center.
Historically, thousands of fans have traveled to NCAA Tournament host sites, thereby filling thousands of hotel rooms and generating millions in visitor spending. Chicago has already experienced the positive impact of hosting NCAA basketball: the 2016 event will mark the fifth time the Big Ten has hosted the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the United Center, including 1998, 2002, 2007 and 2011.
"We are thrilled to again be hosting the NCAA Tournament at the United Center, which has become one of America's most iconic sports and entertainment venues," said Steve Schanwald, Chairman of the Chicago Sports Commission and Vice President of Marketing for the United Center. "Chicago is the greatest sports city in the world and the City of Chicago is adept at rolling out the red carpet to welcome the nation's top sporting events, teams and their supporters."
The hosting of the Midwest Regional will be the first NCAA event the Chicago Sports Commission will collaborate with in Chicago with local partners since the organization's founding in 2011. The NCAA has already committed to hosting two other events in Chicago in the upcoming years - the 2017 Division I Men's Hockey "Frozen Four" and the 2018 National Collegiate Men's Gymnastics Championship, both of which were awarded to the Chicago Sports Commission along with venue and institutional partners in December, 2013.
About the Big Ten Conference
The Big Ten Conference is an association of world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, graduate, professional and undergraduate teaching and public service. Founded in 1896, the Big Ten has sustained a comprehensive set of shared practices and policies that enforce the priority of academics in student-athletes' lives and emphasize the values of integrity, fairness and competitiveness. The broad-based athletic programs of the 14 Big Ten institutions provide nearly $200 million in direct financial aid to almost 9,500 student-athletes for more than 11,000 participation opportunities on 350 teams in 42 different sports. The Big Ten sponsors 28 official conference sports, 14 for men and 14 for women, including the addition of men's and women's lacrosse as official sports for the 2014-15 academic year. For more information, visit www.bigten.org.
About the United Center
The United Center is a state-of-the-art, 960,000 square-foot multi-use entertainment facility that has welcomed more than 46 million fans since opening in 1994. Home of the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association and the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League, the United Center hosts more than 200 events each year, including the best sporting events, musical performers, family shows, and special events in the industry. A commitment to superior service makes the United Center one of the top venues in the world. For more information visit www.unitedcenter.com
About the Chicago Sports Commission
The Chicago Sports Commission pursues, supports and attracts sporting events and sport-related business opportunities to Chicago that will positively impact the city's economy. These efforts will continuously raise the sports profile of Chicago while establishing the city as a premier destination for sport tourism in the world. For more information visit www.chicagosportscommission.com