Portland, Sacramento among finalists for future women's Final Four sites

Seven cities have bid for the next five women's Final Four sites to be awarded, from 2027 through 2031, the NCAA announced Friday.

The list includes two cities that have never hosted the event: Portland, Oregon, and Sacramento, California. The other cities that bid are Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Indianapolis; San Antonio; and Tampa, Florida.

The women's Final Four is in Dallas this season, followed by Cleveland in 2024, Tampa in 2025 and first-time host Phoenix in 2026. The event in Arizona will end a long drought of the women's Final Four not being held in the western United States. The last time was in San Jose, California, in 1999; the closest the event has been to the West since then was Denver in 2012.

The bids were presented to the NCAA Division I women's basketball committee, which met in Dallas this past week. The committee also reviewed a study into the potential benefits of moving the women's Final Four to a different weekend than the men's event, but opted not to.

The women will continue with a Friday and Sunday scheduling model and stay on the same weekend as the men's Final Four for the "foreseeable future," the committee said.

"In its current position on the sporting calendar, men's and women's college basketball are the focus of the entire sports world in March and early April," committee chair Lisa Peterson of the Pac-12 said in a statement. "Continuing to leverage college basketball being the primary focus provides the greatest continued growth opportunities relative to exposure, fan engagement and access, and brand value."

The committee also discussed and finalized schedules for the new two-site regional format that the NCAA women's tournament will begin using this season, set in Greenville, South Carolina, and Seattle in March 2023. The other dual-regional sites that already have been awarded for the next three years are Albany, New York, and Portland (2024); Birmingham, Alabama, and Spokane, Washington (2025); and Fort Worth, Texas, and Sacramento (2026).

The committee also got a report from the Dallas organizing committee for the upcoming 2023 Final Four weekend, which will also include the Division II and III women's national championship games. All will be held from March 31 to April 2 at the American Airlines Center.