Madness coming to the Queen City in 2022 if improvements made to US Bank Arena
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Trust us. US Bank Arena will be better. At least, that's what the arena told the NCAA.
And, the NCAA is believing them. It is bringing the first and second rounds of March Madness to the Queen City in 2022.
That's if improvements are made.
The last time Cincinnati hosted an NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament game, Bob Huggins was the University of Cincinnati's coach.
The last time Cincinnati hosted a basketball tournament game in general was 1997.
Pat Summit and the Lady Volunteers won a championship at US Bank Arena.
"We've been working on this for four years through two bid processes. It's a major collaborative effort with US Bank Arena, UC and Cincinnati USA sports commission,” said Jackie Reau.
Jackie Reau is the Board Chair for the Cincinnati USA Sports Commission.
Reau says that securing the first and second round in 2022 is a huge win for the city.
"We are bidding against our neighbors in Indy, Dayton, Louisville and we are bidding against San Diego. This is a thrilling win for the city of Cincinnati,” said Reau.
In 2015, US Bank Arena announced major plans to renovate the facility.
Those plans included adding more seats, more suites, a glass front and a new, higher roof.
US Bank has recently issued this statement regarding the arena:
There have been no major renovations since the 2015 unveiling of our long term vision. The last major project was a $1 million dollar project that eliminated pinch points within the structure on the floor allowing the stage to be pushed back resulting in a larger sellable capacity.
The NCAA bid is contingent upon renovations. We have never veered off the path since unveiling that vision. We knew it would be an elongated process and its one that we are dedicated to. We are cautiously optimistic for a renovated U.S. Bank Arena in the near future.
Reau says recent success of Cincinnati hosting NCAA hockey tournament games and the progress of downtown and The Banks region played a big role in the decision.
"When they came for their visit, they saw the vibrancy of downtown, they saw our hotel properties and thought it would be a great experience for players, coaches and fans with the banks in walking distance and new hotel adjacent to the arena. I think we will be a fantastic host city,” said Reau.
The arena has already made a million dollars in improvements fixing the building structurally and adding more seating.
It has several millions of dollars' worth of renovations planned and says it's committed to seeing the arena completely renovated in the near future.