Dear esteemed committee members,
We know you have some big decisions coming up, and we wanted to offer you some guidance (pick us please) in your selections for hosts of future Final Four tournaments. Phoenix (a really great place, by the way) submitted a bid in May to host the prestigious competition in 2017, 2019 or 2020. Although our competitors are all viable contenders (meh), we believe that Phoenix (again, really nice) can provide one of the most successful Final Fours in years. Now that we’ve respectfully laid out our opinion (pretty please just pick us), let’s get to the meat of the argument.
1) Basketball is alive and thriving in the Phoenix area, even beyond ASU basketball. The Phoenix Suns were one of the most exciting teams of the 2014 NBA season and are on the fast track to bringing the team back to its glory days of Nash and Stoudemire in the mid-2000s. Our WNBA team draws significant attention as well. Led by superstars Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner, the Phoenix Mercury cruised to a 3rd WNBA championship this year. The scene is so vibrant, in fact, that USA Basketball is building its headquarters in Tempe, set to be complete in 2016.
2) We have terrific infrastructure to put on such an event. According to an AZCentral report by Jeff Metcalfe, the games would be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, an incredible stadium built less than a decade ago. The Final Four, however, extends much further than just three basketball games. Although the competition is the main attraction, visitors expect a full-fledged celebration; we can offer that as well. Downtown Phoenix offers a wealth of hotels and the exceptional Phoenix Convention Center, which would be used for the National Association of Basketball Coaches convention. With our light rail system, visitors will have accessible transport between the events proposed all across the Valley, like the March Madness Music Festival at Tempe Beach Park.
3) Phoenix has ample experience with events of this magnitude. We host the annual Waste Management Phoenix Open, the largest professional golf tournament on the PGA tour. We’ve hosted BCS National Championship games in 2007 and 2011, and we will be holding another one next year. This February we’ll be hosting our second Super Bowl within seven years. There is no doubt about the Valley’s ability to successfully put on gargantuan events.
4) The Final Four is usually played in early April, a time when the Valley’s average temperature has lows of upper 50s and highs of lower 80s. It’s hard to argue with a climate like that.
5) March Madness is the pre-eminent event in college basketball. It only makes sense that a university should be involved. ASU President Michael Crow has made it clear that the bid has full support from the University and voiced enthusiasm in ASU playing an active role in the Final Four. Some of the suggestions include using Wells Fargo Arena as a practice facility and organizing welcomes to events courtesy of the ASU pep band, cheerleaders, and the “942 Crew.”
We’ve been wanting this event since 2008, and Phoenix (best place ever) has made significant steps as a city in the time since then.
We hope you take all of these points into consideration, and make the right choice. (Us. The right choice is us.)
The State Press Editorial Board