Excitement, tears, fanfare: This is what an NCAA Tournament in Sacramento looks like
The NCAA on Tuesday named Golden 1 Center among the host sites for its 2020 men’s basketball tournament. The downtown Sacramento arena will host first- and second-round games March 20 and 22.
Last month marked the tournament’s first appearance in Sacramento since 2007, when it was held at Arco Arena, and the NCAA wasted little time deciding to come back.
“We’re honored to welcome the next generation of student-athletes to Golden 1 Center and thrilled that the NCAA continues to call Sacramento a home for championship sports,” Kings owner and chairman Vivek Ranadive said in a statement. “We’re ready to build on the success of this year’s tournament weekend and showcase our world-class venue and the best of Northern California once again.”
The tournament’s first time at Golden 1 Center proved to be a popular draw. More than 55,000 fans attended the three days of NCAA events, which included an open practice and two days of games.
The site also issued 320 media credentials, not including those for national TV. Intrigue in West Coast teams UCLA and Oregon helped boost that number.
Visiting coaches and players were complimentary of the venue.
“I love this arena,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said following his team’s second-round win. “I think it’s a great facility – the locker rooms, everything behind the arena is first class. … We had a lot of Duck fans here, so that’s great. But the city of Sacramento, the people here at the arena, we could not have been treated any better.”
Chris Granger, Kings president and chief operating officer, said that Sacramento had also submitted bids to host the tournament in 2019, 2021 and 2022. The NCAA announced its host cities for those years as well on Tuesday, and Sacramento was not among them.
Sacramento will be the site of NCAA events in other sports in upcoming years, however. In 2022, the NCAA will hold preliminaries in Division I men’s and women’s outdoor track and field at Hornet Stadium, from May 26-28.
The NCAA will also hold a Division I men’s and women’s cross country regional at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex in both 2018 and 2021. And Haggin Oaks will be the site of the Division II men’s and women’s cross country championships in 2019.