Courtesy Central Florida Sports Commission

ORLANDO (August 15, 2016) – Bringing together government and tourism leadership from Lake, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole Counties, and the City of Orlando, the Central Florida Sports Commission is spearheading the effort to bring up to 50 NCAA Championships to the region over a four-year period. As part of the NCAA’s strategy to streamline the bidding process, 83 of their 90 annual championships are up for bid from 2018-2022.

The Sports Commission’s strategy focuses on showing the NCAA that the entire Central Florida community supports NCAA championships. In collaboration with Orlando-based companies True Marketing and Prismatic, a Championship Video and Marketing Kit were created to showcase the destination and clearly illustrate why Central Florida is the perfect spot for NCAA championships. In addition, more than 40 letters of support from tourism and business leaders throughout the region and the state, including Governor Rick Scott, were submitted to the NCAA. 

In order to host an NCAA Championship, a college, university, or conference office must co-host the event. For Division I and National Collegiate bids to host Men’s Basketball, Men’s and Women’s Tennis, Women’s Gymnastics, Wrestling, and Beach Volleyball, the Sports Commission will partner with UCF, the University of Florida, Stetson University and Binghamton University (NY). For Division II bids covering Men’s and Women’s Golf, Men’s and Women’s Tennis, and Softball, Rollins College and the Sunshine State Conference have committed. And for Division III championships in Men’s and Women’s Golf as well as Men’s and Women’s Tennis, Oglethorpe University (GA) will serve as the collegiate partner.

In recent years, the NCAA has increased its focus on youth participation by adding showcase-style tournaments which take place in conjunction with some sport’s national championship. With these added youth components, securing an NCAA championship can be more lucrative than ever for host cities. The championship provides additional media coverage and national recognition, while the youth tournaments bring additional competitors and spectators to the region, increasing the overall economic impact of the event for the host. 

“The bid process for NCAA Championships is extremely competitive, and it takes a team effort to show the NCAA that we have the right destination to host these prestigious events,” said Jason Siegel, Interim President & CEO of the Central Florida Sports Commission. “Sports tourism continues to be an important investment for host cities. With our community’s devoted effort and support we will be better positioned in our pursuit of these elite championship events.”

"Orlando's reputation as one the country's premier sports destinations is on the rise thanks to our modern venues, strong community partnerships, and a thirst for hosting diverse sporting events," said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. "We continue to show the world that not only can Orlando host just about any event, we consistently draw the fans too."

“Hosting these Championships in Central Florida is a great example of what our community can accomplish when we come together for a common goal,” said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. “These events have a measurable, positive impact on our economy and expose Central Florida’s evolving brand to viewers around the world.”

For the past 20 years (beginning in 1996), the Sports Commission has hosted at least one NCAA National Championship or Regional Championship each year. Highlighted by the return of the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship which will be hosted at the Amway Center in March of 2017, the Sports Commission continues to galvanize the community and illustrate to the NCAA, and other event stakeholders, why Central Florida is a championship destination.

Here’s what our collegiate partners are saying about CFSC and the most recent NCAA bid cycle:

“We look forward to the opportunity to bring the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and Tennis National Championships to Orlando,” said Danny White, Director of Athletics at the University of Central Florida. “Our city has so much to offer the coaches, student-athletes, and fans participating in these great events.  We’d like to thank the Central Florida Sports Commission for all their hard work in acquiring and running these first class events and appreciate our partnership with the City of Orlando and the USTA.”  

“We are excited about the prospect of the NCAA Gymnastics Championships coming to Orlando,” said University of Florida Assistant Athletic Director Mike Spiegler. “Many supporters of the sport are right there in Central Florida and the area offers so much for visiting fans.  The Central Florida Sports Commission does a great job hosting events and we look forward to the opportunity to work with them on this championship.”

“Stetson University is proud to continue to be part of the effort to bring NCAA championships to Central Florida,” said Stetson University Director of Athletics Jeff Altier. “Working in conjunction with the City of Orlando, the Central Florida Sports Commission, and other colleges/universities, this area has the facilities to enable us to host many national events.” 

"The possibility of hosting the NCAA wrestling national championships would be a tremendous honor for Binghamton University,” said Patrick Elliott, Director of Athletics at Binghamton University. “We are excited to partner with the Central Florida Sports Commission on this initiative. Orlando is a word class destination city and the Amway Center is the perfect venue to accommodate competing schools and wrestling fans with a first class experience."

“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the Central Florida Sports Commission to bring NCAA Division II Championships to our community,” said Rollins College Director of Athletics Pennie Parker. “We have hosted many successful championships in the past and look forward to showcasing both Rollins and Central Florida in the future.”     

“The staff at The Central Florida Sports Commission has formed a dynamic partnership with Oglethorpe and the NCAA, and we could not be any more pleased with the relationship we have with them,” said Oglethorpe Director of Golf Jim Owen. “We have teamed together over the past 12 years to host ten NCAA DIII Championships and several Fall Previews together and have drawn universal rave reviews across the nation. The leadership, direction, and logistical support they provide is without peer in the industry. When you partner with the Central Florida Sports Commission, your event is in the best hands in the business."

"The Sunshine State Conference is proud to partner with the Central Florida Sports Commission in bidding to bring future NCAA Championships to Central Florida,” said Ed Pasque, Commissioner of the Sunshine State Conference. “Central Florida is one of the premier entertainment and hospitality destinations in the world, and we are excited about the possibility of showcasing this region to NCAA student-athletes, coaches and fans." 

Bids were submitted on Friday, August 12. The NCAA is expected to narrow the list of hosts by announcing finalists in October, with a final determination of host sites to be announced in December. For more information on the Central Florida Sports Commission, visitwww.centralfloridasports.org | www.facebook.com/cflsports | www.twitter.com/cflsports