Tampa, USF to host multiple NCAA tournaments in the coming years

The Baylor Bears celebrate defeating Notre Dame 82-81 in the women’s basketball National Championship Game at Amalie Arena on April 7, 2019. The Tampa venue will host a slew of national championships in the next several years. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE NCAA

It happened in 2019, and now it’s happening again.

And then some.

The NCAA on Wednesday announced that Tampa will host multiple championship finals, stretching from 2023-26. Among the tournaments was the 2025 NCAA Women’s Final Four, the fourth one to be held in Tampa.

In addition to the women’s basketball final, Amalie Arena will host the 2023 men’s Frozen Four, 2023 women’s volleyball finals and the first and second rounds of the 2026 men’s basketball NCAA Tournament.

“While the recent months have been challenging to say the least, Team Tampa Bay’s spirit is unique, unwavering and second to none,” Rob Higgins, executive director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, said in a statement. “We’re beyond grateful to our friends at the NCAA for entrusting us with each of these incredibly special events. 

“Our organization, alongside our tremendous community partners and host institutions, prides itself on our high standard for hosting NCAA Championships and we can’t wait to get to work as we aim to raise the bar even higher. Our hometown’s future has never been brighter.”

The last championship to be hosted at Amalie Arena was the 2019 NCAA women’s Final Four, which drew in more than 40,000 fans across two days. 

Tampa was set to host the first two rounds of March Madness in March, but the coronavirus pandemic led to the cancellation of the tournament.

All events will be hosted by the Tampa Sports Commission, and USF will be the host member for the first two rounds of the men’s basketball tournament, women’s basketball finals and women’s volleyball finals. 

USF, without an NCAA-level hockey team, won’t be the host school for the Frozen Four. Instead, Wisconsin will host.

“Landing four NCAA signature events is a true testament to Team Tampa Bay and we’re thankful to the NCAA for allowing us the opportunity to host each of them,” Steve Griggs, CEO of Vinik Sports Group, the lease-holding entity for Amalie Arena, said in a statement. “We’ve worked hard to prove ourselves in the past and now we’re going to work as hard as ever with each of these events to create a world-class experience for the student-athletes and fans.”