March Madness will return to the Spokane Arena in 2020.
On Wednesday, the NCAA selected Spokane as a site for the first- and second-round game for the 2020 men’s tournament, to be held on March 19 and 21. The University of Idaho, which submitted the bid, will also host next year’s NCAA women’s regional at the Arena.
“The Spokane Arena does such a wonderful job. That crew makes our jobs a lot easier,” UI athletic director Rob Spear said. “We have an obligation to support the region economically by hosting the NCAA Tournament, and that’s a great thing.”
WSU hosted first- and second-round men’s games at the Arena in 2003, 2007, 2010, 2014 and 2016. (For a brief time, after the tournament added play-in games, the games were referred to as second- and third-rounders.)
The Vandals have taken the lead in the efforts to bring the NCAA men’s tournament to Spokane as often as possible. While Washington State hosted in 2014, athletic director Bill Moos said the Cougars are unlikely to do so again.
UI is the only other regional school with the staffing capability to host such a large event, although both the Cougars and Vandals rely on volunteers from other schools in the region when hosting.
In exchange, UI will get an honorarium from the NCAA that basically covers expenses. Furthermore, a UI logo will be placed on the court, and Vandals flags and banners will fly around town, increasing the school’s visibility in Spokane.
“As a host institution, we are able to get our large donors and contributors the opportunity to purchase great seats,” Spear said. “All of that really does help the university’s brand. As long as we can partner with the Spokane Arena, we are more than happy to do this well into the future.”
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