Last week’s announcement that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) awarded the City of Stockton their 2017 Women’s Basketball Regionals event was as good as it gets when it comes to sports marketing/sports tourism.
For almost 7 months now, the bid team (Visit Stockton, University of the Pacific and the Stockton Arena) have been working on providing a very detailed, positive bid to entice the NCAA Women’s Basketball Committee to give Stockton the opportunity to host. The NCAA likes to reward new communities by giving events to them (new in their world as it comes to hosting events), but they like rewarding successful cities even more so.
For a city the size of Stockton, the regionals event is as large as we feasibly could host. Sure, I’d love to have the experience of hosting a Final Four or a Super Bowl…but we are missing a 70,000 seat stadium (just as starters). The regionals will bring four of the nation’s best Women’s Basketball teams to town to compete over two days (see below for the rough schedule), NCAA staff, university staff and fans, but even more so – a lot of media coverage. Historically (I say this because tv contracts could change between now and 2017) the regionals round has been broadcast on ESPN, live, nationwide.
The great thing about the NCAA and them bringing their events to town is that from the second they award the event to a city, that city is already a winner. Sports Marketing & Sports Tourism professionals are used to offering incentives to event organizers to come to their city, the NCAA does not require this…instead, they provide incentive to the facility and host institution (in our case, the University of the Pacific) to make sure it is a successful event by offering a form of profit sharing on the event.
Now that the event is awarded, the next phase of work begins. It is time for the Local Organizing Committee (once again comprised of staff from Visit Stockton, the University of the Pacific and the Stockton Arena) to put plans in place to provide the best regionals event the NCAA has seen….one with seats in the arena full, and game operations run smoothly.
The reason this is so important? Summer of 2017 marks the next bid cycle for NCAA events. The event Stockton will host in March of 2017 will be very fresh in everyone’s minds back in Indianapolis where the NCAA is headquartered. If everything goes smoothly, there is no reason the city can’t be rewarded with many additional events from the NCAA for years to come.
Celebrate the victory and what it means for our city. Mark your calendars now to be at the arena the weekend of March 25, 2017.
The games could be held either Friday and Sunday, or Saturday and Monday – the NCAA will announce this 9 months prior to the event.