In case you’re into advance planning, like we are, it’s time to start clearing your schedule for a trip to the greatest college basketball event of the year, the Final Four. And we’re not just talking about the 2015 edition, but we’re also looking ahead to future years as well. Those hotel rooms book up fast, you know.
The NCAA announced recently which cities will be hosting the final weekend of the men’s Division I basketball tournament in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021, so you can clear your springtime vacation with your employer as many as seven years in advance if you’re so inclined.
Here is a quick look at where the Final Four will be held in each of the next few years, as well as a little bit of the history at each site. (All information comes from NCAA.com.)
2015: Indianapolis, Ind.
Indianapolis, the home of the NCAA’s headquarters, will be the next city to host the Final Four, with semifinals slated for April 4, and the national championship game to take place on April 6. This will be the seventh time Indy has served as the backdrop for college hoops’ signature event, second in frequency to only Kansas City. The games will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium, better known as the home of the Indianapolis Colts.
2016: Houston, Texas
Next season, the Final Four returns to Houston, where it will be played at the Texans’ NRG Stadium on April 2 and April 4. Houston will be hosting the Final Four for the third time in its history, after previous engagements in 1971 and 2011. Houston was one of the first cities to test the current Final Four seating design with the court in the middle of the football field, which now is par for the course.
2017: Phoenix, Ariz.
University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, will be the setting for the 2017 Final Four, which tips off with national semifinals on April 1 and the title game following on April 3. The Phoenix region has never before hosted the event, but obviously is no stranger to putting on sports’ biggest spectacles, with the February 2015 Super Bowl and January 2016 college football championship game also scheduled for the Arizona Cardinals’ home.
2018: San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio’s Alamodome will play host to its fourth Final Four in 2018, with the event returning for the first time since 2008. The venue is expected to have significant renovations completed before the 2018 semifinals get underway, which helped the 72,000-seat venue get back into the NCAA’s rotation.
2019: Minneapolis, Minn.
Minnesota gets its fourth-ever Final Four thanks to the Vikings’ brand-new stadium, which is under construction and will be ready for business by the time the 2019 NCAA tournament rolls around. Minneapolis hasn’t hosted the Final Four since the 2001 event was held in the Metrodome, but as the saying goes, “If you build it, they will come.”
2020: Atlanta, Ga.
Speaking of new stadiums, Atlanta gets the Final Four for the fifth time in 2020, and the Georgia Dome (pictured) won’t be doing the honors this time around. Instead, the Falcons’ new digs, which open in 2017, will be the location for deciding college basketball’s 2020 national champion. Atlanta last hosted the Final Four in 2013.
2021: Indianapolis, Ind.
See above. The Final Four’s annual backup site also is guaranteed a regular spot in the hosting rotation, and Indy will once again welcome the Final Four to Lucas Oil Stadium in 2021. Although this November’s announcement of host cities was only expected to cover 2017-2020, adding Indianapolis in 2021 allowed the NCAA to get an extra city in the mix, and with so many strong candidates to choose from, that was a no-brainer for the association.