March Madness is coming back to Tampa, as the Amalie Arena has been selected as a host site for first and second round games in the 2020 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship.
In addition, the Bay area will welcome 11 Division II championship events in 2020 and 2021.
Games will be played on March 19 and 21, 2020.
It's the fourth time the Amalie Arena has hosted games in the tournament, with previous events in 2003, 2008 and 2011. Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg hosted the Final Four in 1999.
Amalie Arena previously hosted the Women's Division I Basketball Final Four in 2008 and 2015 and will do so again in 2019. It was also home to the Men's Division I Hockey "Frozen Four" Championships in 2012 and 2016.
“We’re thrilled with today’s announcement that March Madness will be returning to Tampa Bay in 2020 and we could not be more grateful to the NCAA for entrusting us with this amazing opportunity,” said Rob Higgins, Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, in a statement Tuesday. “A special thanks goes out to Amalie Arena, USF and all of our community partners who helped land this incredible event. We’re focused on working together to deliver an unforgettable experience for all of the student-athletes and fans.”
As with the previous events, the University of South Florida will serve as host school for the games, with athletics officials saying they'll provide "guidance and resources in everything from event management and media coordination to marketing and community involvement."
“This is very exciting for the Bay Area to continue to host premier national events.” said USF Director of Athletics Mark Harlan. “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 Championship, showcase our community to the nation. USF is committed to being a strong community partner and a part of these endeavors.”
In addition to the basketball games, the NCAA announced Tuesday that the Tampa Bay area will be home to 11 Division II championship events in 2020 and 2021, including seven National Championships.
Saint Leo University will host the 2020 and 2021 Men's and Women's Cross Country Regionals, as well as the 2o21 Men's and Women's Cross Country National Championship. It had hosted the sport's Regional and National Championships in 2016.
The University of Tampa will host the 2020 and 2021 Men's and Women's Soccer National Championships, as well as the 2021 Women's Volleyball National Championship. U-T is already set to welcome the Division II Women's Lacrosse National Championship in 2018.