March Madness returning to Tampa in 2020
March Madness is coming back to Tampa.
Amalie Arena will host the first and second rounds of the NCAA men's basketball tournament on March 19 and 21, 2020, the NCAA announced Tuesday afternoon.
"We're thrilled," said Rob Higgins, the executive director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission. "We've had such a great history of hosting. Our community has always stepped up and really wrapped their arms around the opportunity to host the first and second rounds. We couldn't be more excited for March of 2020."
USF will serve as the host school. Tampa last hosted the event in 2011.
Higgins said getting March Madness back was a high priority. Tampa submitted its bid in the fall.
Higgins said the area's showing in January at the College Football Playoff national title game certainly didn't hurt its case.
"I think really you're only as good as your last event," Higgins said. "Naturally the feedback we got from the College Football Playoff national championship and how we as a community perfomed on that stage hopefully sets the table for us for future opportunities and future announcements like the one today."
That announcement also included six Division II events:
* 2020 and 2021 men's and women's cross country regional (Saint Leo's Abbey Course)
* 2021 women's volleyball championships (University of Tampa's Bob Martinez Athletics Center)
* 2021 men's and women's cross country championships (Saint Leo's Abbey Course)
* 2020 and 2021 men's and women's soccer championships (UT's Pepin Stadium)
"We are so excited as a department to be able to engage our talented staff and resources in helping the Bay Area to continue to host premier national events," USF athletic director Mark Harlan said in a statement. "The first-class events that our partners at the Tampa Bay Sports Commission and executive director Rob Higgins have been able to put on in our community, including last year's magnificently run College Football Playoff National Champoinship, showcase our community to the nation. USF is committed to being a strong community partner and a part of these endeavors."