Minnesota launches bid for NCAA Final Four tournament


Minnesota Launches Bid for NCAA Final Four Tournament


Governor Dayton names Mary Brainerd, David Mortenson co-chairs of Final Four bid


Lindsay Whalen, Trent Tucker named honorary co-chairs of the effort


ST. PAUL, MN – On the heels of Minnesota securing the 2018 Super Bowl, Governor Mark Dayton today announced an organized campaign to bring the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Final Four men’s basketball tournament to Minnesota. The bid announced today (for tournament years 2017-2020) would bring one of the nation’s most-watched collegiate tournaments to the new Minnesota Multi-Purpose Stadium in Minneapolis.

“Hosting the NCAA Final Four would bring tens of thousands of visitors to Minnesota, and put our state center-stage during one of the most-watched sporting events of the year,” said Governor Dayton. “We planto pursue this opportunity, and the economic benefits that come with it, with the same enthusiasm andcreativity that secured the 2018 Super Bowl.”

In announcing Minnesota’s bid for the Final Four, Governor Dayton today named Mary Brainerd, President and CEO of HealthPartners, Inc. and David Mortenson, President of Mortenson Construction, as co-chairs of the Minnesota Final Four Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will be comprised of representativesfrom Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA), Meet Minneapolis, and the University of Minnesota.

“Minnesota’s new multi-purpose stadium has been designed from the onset to accommodate preeminent national events such as the NCAA Final Four Tournament,” said Mortenson. “We believe there is no better venue or region for this event, and it will provide an opportunity to again showcase Minnesota to the nation and the world. We will work hard with the University of Minnesota and our strategic partners to present a bid that showcases all that our region has to offer.”

Lessons learned from Minnesota’s recent experience in putting together the successful Super Bowl LII bid demonstrated that these efforts require the energy, effort and collaboration of our community and business leadership to be successful.

“The Final Four will be a terrific and engaging event for our entire community, with events like Bracket Town, Tip-Off Tailgate and March Madness Music Festival. Like the Super Bowl, the Final Four now includes many events and lots to offer over several days,” said Brainerd. “There will be many opportunitiesfor fans and visitors to take part and experience the hospitality of our entire region

Governor Dayton also named two honorary co-chairs from the Minnesota sports world to help support Minnesota’s bid for the Final Four. Lindsay Whalen, guard for the Minnesota Lynx and former University of Minnesota women’s basketball star, and Trent Tucker, former NBA player and University of Minnesota men’s basketball star, will serve as honorary co-chairs.

“As director of athletics for Minneapolis Public Schools, I look forward to working with our co-chairs and the NCAA on the youth programs that are a major component in the bid process and in the legacy that follows the championship game,” said Tucker, who as part of Minnesota’s bid for the Final Four will work with the NCAA to provide youth clinics for students in grades 3 through 8 to discuss sportsmanship, wellness and injury prevention.

If Minnesota is selected as host, it will be the third time it has hosted a Final Four. Previous events in 1992 and 2001 were held at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

 “I have attended Final Four games and events, and am truly excited to be involved in working to bring them to my hometown,” said Whalen. “Our new stadium, connected downtown, and fanatical basketball community will welcome all NCAA fans. We are more than ready to host the Final Four again in Minnesota.”

The University of Minnesota will also work closely with Minnesota’s steering committee and co-chairs to bring the Final Four to Minnesota.

 "I have witnessed firsthand the benefits a Final Four brings to a city, state and University," said Minnesota Director of Athletics Norwood Teague. "I am extremely proud of the bid submitted by Minnesota and the University of Minnesota on behalf of its businesses, residents and students, and am excited by the prospect of hosting one of the greatest sporting events in the country."

About Minnesota’s Bid for the NCAA Final Four Tournament

Minnesota was named a finalist in January 2014 along with Atlanta, Indianapolis, New Orleans, North Texas ,Phoenix, San Antonio and St. Louis for the 2017-2020 tournaments. Minnesota’s goal will be to secure the2019 or 2020 Men’s Final Four games, as a regional championship game will be held in the Final Four site the preceding year.

A Minnesota Final Four tournament would be held in the new, iconic Minnesota Multi-Purpose Stadium, which is currently under construction and will be completed in 2016. Last month, Minnesota was awarded Super Bowl LII, to be held in the facility in February 2018.

Bid documents were submitted to the NCAA on May 9, including all requested details, such as hotel contracts for 13,131 rooms utilizing 98 hotels in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Bloomington and the greater metro area.

Mortenson and Brainerd will lead a site visit with the NCAA in the fall. A decision is expected in November.

For more information about the state’s effort to bring the Final Four to Minnesota, visit http://www.mnfinalfour.com.

Potential Economic Impact of the Tournament

The Minnesota Final Four Steering Committee is working to assess the potential economic impact the tournament could have in Minnesota. The Final Four tournament can bring a large economic impact to the host community. It is always difficult to project economic impact. However, reviewing the economic impact on other host committees over the last four years, the economic impact could be anywhere between $70 million to $200 million. Atlanta Convention and Business Bureau reported an estimated $70 million impact in2013. New Orleans projected an impact of $135 million in 2012 and Dallas projected an impact of $275 million in 2014. Multiple events associated with the tournament are held throughout the region.

Biographical Information about Co-Chairs and Steering Committee Members

Mary Brainerd is president and chief executive officer of Minnesota-based HealthPartners, Inc., the largest, consumer-governed, nonprofit health care organization in the nation. Leading more than 22,000 employees in the HealthPartners integrated system and the HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research; she has been with the company since 1992. Brainerd is one of the founding CEOs and former chair of the Itasca Project, a group of 40 government, civic and business leaders addressing the issues that impact long-term economic growth. She serves on the boards of Minnesota Life/Securian, Greater MSP, University of Minnesota Foundation, Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, and Bremer Financial Corporation.

David Mortenson is president of Mortenson Construction, where he oversees all aspects of the business and has direct oversight of business units in the Midwest and Asia. He began his career at Mortenson in 1991 after serving as a combat information center officer in the U.S. Navy. Outside of Mortenson, he served as vice chair of the Itasca Project, was a founding board member of Greater MSP, a trustee of both the Minneapolis Foundation and the University of Minnesota College of Design. A passionate promoter of innovation, he also serves as a corporate director with BedfordTechnologies.

Lindsay Whalen is a guard on the Minnesota Lynx, a two-time world champion Women’s National Basketball Association team, and a former University of Minnesota Golden Gopher women’s basketball player who became the fastest female Gopher to reach 1,000 career points after doing so in 51 games and lists as Minnesota's all-time career scoring leader with 2,285 points, among many other professional accolades.

Trent Tucker graduated from the University of Minnesota where he was a Golden Gopher men’s basketball star, then started his career in 1982 playing for the New York Knicks for nine seasons and his final season with the Chicago Bulls earning a championship title in 1993. Known as one of the premiere three-point shooters in the history of the NBA, he holds the Bulls’ record for most threepointers scored in one game and ranks fifth in most three-pointers in one game. He spent five years as a broadcast analyst for the Minnesota Timberwolves and currently, he is heard on KFAN radio.Tucker has been very active in the Minnesota community for over 20 years with his basketball camp and his nonprofit, now called the All 4 Kids Foundation, among many other accomplishments.

Steering Committee Members: Michele Kelm-Helgen, Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority; Melvin Tennant, Meet Minneapolis; Andrew Parrish, University of Minnesota


Office of the Governor, Communications Department

130 State Capitol, St. Paul, MN 55155

T: 651-201-3400 | E: Dayton.Media@state.mn.us