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Columbus to host NCAA women’s basketball Final Four in 2018

For the first time ever, the city of Columbus is set to host the NCAA women’s basketball Final Four in 2018.

The announcement was made Monday evening on ESPN2 after the women’s basketball committee visited Columbus in September.

Columbus was up against Dallas, Houston, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and New Orleans in the bidding process. Each city was in the running to host the Final Four between 2017 and 2020, with Dallas getting 2017, Tampa Bay being awarded the 2019 tournament and New Orleans receiving the Final Four in 2020.

Columbus has never hosted the women’s Final Four, but last hosted first round matchups at Ohio State’s St. John Arena in 2013.

Tampa Bay is set to host the 2015 women’s Final Four.

Bids to host the Final Four were due in May and the committees narrowed the list down to select finalists before visiting each of those cities earlier this fall.

According to an NCAA release, any venue that wishes to host the women’s Final Four must have a seating capacity of at least 18,000. Nationwide Arena — the likely site for a Final Four in Columbus — has a capacity of 19,500 for basketball.

A Greater Columbus Sports Commission release estimated in September that the women’s Final Four could generate $18-20 million in visitor spending and could attract 40,000 fans.

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