Championship City

More than 18,100 highly enthusiastic volleyball fans packed Target Center in this December for the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship. A sea of red took over the stands as the two combatants in the final – the Stanford Cardinal and the Nebraska Cornhuskers, both with red as their team colors – battled five sets to give the fans in the arena, and those watching live on ESPN2, a memorable display of athletic prowess, grace and grittiness.

While the Stanford Cardinal won the hard-fought battle, the real winners were the businesses that supplied goods and services for the NCAA teams, staff and fans. The four team hotels were the Renaissance Depot, the Loews, Radisson Blu and the Marriott City Center. While here, fans took full advantage of our restaurants and bars, retail establishments and attractions. 

In conjunction with the semifinals and championship, the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) held its convention at the Minneapolis Convention Center with nearly 2,800 registered attendees. Those coaches and their guests utilized 10 additional hotels in Minneapolis and undoubtedly enjoyed many of the amenities our city has to offer.

The bid cycle for the NCAA reopens in 2019 and the consensus is that Sports Minneapolis and our partners from the University of Minnesota and Target Center will aggressively pursue another volleyball championship.

And volleyball is just the beginning. We have amassed an impressive collection of top tier collegiate events that will take place in Minneapolis, over the next four years:

•             2019     NCAA Men’s Final Four
•             2020     NCAA Men’s Wrestling Championships
•             2021     NCAA Men’s Basketball Regional
•             2022     NCAA Women’s Final Four

Relationships matter when it comes to working with the NCAA. When we were awarded the Men’s Final Four in 2014, it was the culmination of a relationship nurtured since 2001 when the event was held at the HHH Metrodome. It wasn’t a slam dunk to be awarded the Final Four because of our new U.S. Bank Stadium. The years spent fostering and cultivating our relationships helped the NCAA to be comfortable in awarding us their biggest championship.

Kristin Fasbender is Director, Championships and Alliances for the NCAA and is ultimately responsible for the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship. She is also responsible for the Frozen Four, which we have hosted in this region, twice, in recent years. Anthony Holman is the NCAA’s Managing Director, Championships and Alliances, Playing Rules and Officiating.  He is responsible for the NCAA Men’s Wrestling Championships coming to U.S. Bank Stadium in 2020 and he is also in charge of the College World Series.  Maybe when they’re looking for an alternative to Omaha at some point in the future, we can be in the mix.  Again, relationships matter.

So, thanks to you and to all of our partners who helped us become a Championship City for year to come. 

Finally, I hope you and your family a safe and happy New Year!