Everything else has come to Glendale, so why not college basketball?
On Friday, plans were announced for a doubleheader next season featuring Arizona State vs. Brigham Young and Big East power Louisville vs. the Big Ten’s Minnesota at University of Phoenix Stadium.
The announcement begs an obvious question: When might Glendale host a Final Four?
The answer: As early as 2012.
ASU will submit a bid in June for the stadium to host a Final Four between 2012-2016, said Dawn Rogers, an ASU senior associate athletic director.
Because the stadium is a domed facility that seats more than 60,000, Glendale would be the only city west of San Antonio capable of hosting a Final Four.
Glendale is one of 10 cities vying for the five aforementioned Final Fours, with one of them guaranteed to go to Indianapolis, Rogers said.
The stadium could hold 80,000 for a Final Four, said Ted Ferris, president of the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority.
“We will at some point host a Final Four; I think that’s a fair statement,” Ferris said. “We hosted a Super Bowl, and it was a fabulous Super Bowl. We like our chances.”
Rogers pointed out that a host of events accompany a Final Four, so that Arizona’s pleasant climate in early April will be a big plus in trying to land the event.
“There aren’t huge concerns…about inclement weather,” she said.
Local officials are hoping to land the event at the front end of the five-year window, which would increase the chance to be part of a regular Final Four rotation.
The doubleheader, which will be played sometime in December, is part of the NCAA’s “test-run” requirement for the stadium to host the regional finals next March.
The stadium will have a capacity of 40,000 to 43,000 for the doubleheader.
The event is being promoted by Northwest Sports & Entertainment Inc. A company official, John Hines, said the break-even point for the event likely would be a crowd of between 20,000 to 25,000.
All four teams won 20 games this past season.
“I think we’ll easily eclipse 20,000,” Hines said.
ASU coach Herb Sendek said, “An event like this provides for greater exposure.”
Two other teams in the event have a local flavor as BYU features former Mesa High star Lee Cummard while Minnesota has former Chandler High star Lawrence Westbrook.