Four past hosts and one new location will host the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Final Four from 2027 through 2031, the NCAA announced on Monday morning.
Columbus, Ohio, will host in 2027 followed by Indianapolis in 2028. San Antonio will host in 2029 with first-time host Portland, Oregon, in 2030. Dallas will host in 2031.
“The Women’s Final Four is the premier women’s basketball event in the country and it’s exciting to see the unprecedented amount of interest from cities to host in the future,” said Lisa Peterson, chair of the committee and senior associate commissioner for sports management with the Pac-12 Conference. “The committee appreciates all the cities involved in the highly competitive bid process. When we crown a national champion in the selected cities, our student-athletes, coaches and fans will have enjoyed an amazing championship experience.”
Seven cities, including two first-time bidders, were among the finalists. Staff and committee members visited the finalists between August and September. Not selected from the group of fianlists was Sacramento, California; Tampa, Florida; and Cleveland, Ohio.
Cities delivered its final presentations to the committee recently in Dallas, where the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee announced that the Final Four from 2027–2031 would remain in its traditional schedule with semifinals on Friday and the championship game on Sunday. While the NCAA Men’s Final Four is held in football stadiums, the Women’s Final Four will continue to be held in NBA arenas.
The Host Cities
Columbus, Ohio (Nationwide Arena): Columbus hosted in 2018. It will be the fifth time that the Final Four is held in Ohio, having been in Cincinnati in 1997 and Cleveland in 2007 and scheduled for 2024. Columbus’ hosting of the 2018 Women’s Final Four is remembered by Arike Ogunbowale’s buzzer-beaters in the semifinal against UConn and title game against Mississippi State.
“We are grateful to be a hub for women’s sports through our partnership with the NCAA,” said Linda Logan, chief executive officer and president of the Greater Columbus Sports Commission. “We raised the bar globally with our work on the 2018 Women’s Final Four and embrace the challenge to elevate the event even higher in 2027.”
Indianapolis (Gainbridge Fieldhouse): Indianapolis has hosted the Women’s Final Four three times in 2005, 2011 and 2016. It was held at the RCA Dome in 2005 but the two times since that the city has hosted the Women’s Final Four, it has been at the home of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers and WNBA’s Indiana Fever.
“Indiana Sports Corp is thrilled that the city of Indianapolis has been awarded the opportunity to host the 2028 Women’s Final Four,” said Patrick Talty, Indiana Sports Corp president. “We would like to thank the NCAA Women’s Basketball Selection Committee for trusting us with their event and we look forward to working with them to elevate the sport of women’s basketball throughout our state and beyond.”
San Antonio (Alamodome): San Antonio is one of the most familiar homes for the Women’s Final Four, having hosted three times previously in 2002, 2010 and in 2021, when it held the entire tournament in the region as part of the NCAA’s ‘bubble’ environment during the pandemic.
Portland, Oregon (Moda Center): This is the first time that Portland will host a Women’s Final Four, having bid for the event previously but missing out. The city will host a 2024 NCAA Women’s Regional weekend. The last time the Women’s Final Four was held in the Pacific Northwest was when Tacoma, Washington, hosted in 1988 and 1989.
“To say we are excited is a massive understatement – this is a huge win for our community and our bid partners,” said Sport Oregon Chief Executive Officer Jim Etzel. “It is a testament to the culture and passion of women’s basketball fans in Oregon. We are deeply appreciative of the Women’s Basketball Committee and the NCAA for choosing Portland, and we can’t wait to show everyone what we already know, that this is the best place in the world for women’s athletics.”
Dallas (American Airlines Center): 2031 will be the third time that Dallas hosts, having done so in 2017 — when South Carolina beat Mississippi State in an all-SEC final — while currently preparing to host the next Final Four in 2023, which will bring together the championship games for all three NCAA divisions.
There was debate about having the Men’s and Women’s Final Fours at the same site after a gender equity review by Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP of how the NCAA conducts its championship events included combining the events into one location by no later than the 2022–2023 season. The review was done in upon reporting showcased how the NCAA failed to provide similar amenities to the teams in the 2021 men’s and women’s Division I basketball tournaments along with complaints that surfaced at the women’s volleyball tournament in Omaha, Nebraska and the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
The NCAA explored the idea of a joint Final Four for men’s and women’s basketball before deciding against the idea. One major change in how the women’s tournament is scheduled takes place with the 2023 event; instead of four regional sites hosting four teams apiece, this year is the first time that there will two regional sites hosting eight teams apiece. The 2023 regional sites are Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle and Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina. Minneapolis, Minnesota, hosted the 2022 Final Four won by South Carolina over Connecticut.