By JOEY JOHNSTON | The Tampa Tribune
Published: November 14, 2008
TAMPA, Fla. - The Women’s Final Four will return to Tampa and the St. Pete Times Forum in 2015.
NCAA vice president Sue Donohoe and Duke University associate athletic director Jacki Silar, chair of the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee, made the announcement on Friday afternoon.
They cited Tampa’s successful presentation of the 2008 Women’s Final Four as the key.
The event – which included women’s basketball powerhouses Tennessee, Connecticut, Stanford and LSU – was widely praised by NCAA administrators for its organization and hospitality.
“This decision validates a lot of what was accomplished in 2008,” said Rob Higgins, executive director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission. “This is a tremendous event, both economically and socially, and we’re very excited to be hosing it a second time.”
According to a NCAA consultant’s study, the 2008 Women’s Final Four generated more than $19 million in direct economic impact in the Tampa Bay area. The study said there were 22,595 visitors to the Tampa Bay area for the various events, including Time Out in Tampa and Hoop City. Each visitor stayed an average of 4.2 days and spent an average of $208 per day.
Higgins said acquiring the 2015 Women’s Final Four is particularly meaningful because it’s scheduled to fall on Easter Weekend, traditionally a slow time for tourism.
Higgins said he hopes the Forum will become a regular site for NCAA men’s and women’s basketball events. The SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament will be held at the Forum on March 12-15.