NCAA Tournament Cities and Site Breakdown

The casual fan might not know that the locations for the NCAA Tournament do change year after year. While some tournament sites remain the same (like the "First Four" games in Dayton) many of the other rounds will rotate between some of the largest basketball arenas in the country.  This allows for the sport of college basketball to grow and for more fans to experience the excitement of NCAA Tournament games.

First Four Play in Game Locations

The games kick off with the ‘First Four’ round, pitting eight of the lowest seeded teams against each other. These games take place at the University of Dayton Arena which is home to the Dayton Flyers during the regular season. Eight teams will play here annually for the first four games of the tournament. The four winners then get a place in the sixty-four team bracket that is filled out by both passionate and casual fans alike.

First Four at University of Dayton Arena
Tip-off at University of Dayton Arena for the First Four games

2020 First and Second Round Locations

First and second round locations for March Madness’ 2020 installment will take place between March 19-22 and will include a variety of exciting locations. The East Coast has several hosts cities including Greensboro (Greensboro Coliseum), Albany (Times Union Center), and Tampa (Amalie Arena).  In the Midwest, games will be held in St. Louis (Enterprise Center), Omaha (CHI Health Center Omaha), and Cleveland (Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse). The West Coast has the fewest options, with just Sacramento and Spokane as 2020 host cities, with games at the Golden 1 Center and Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena respectively.

The good thing about this year's first and second round locations is that most of them do not have consistent college level games played in them. Greensboro Coliseum (home to UNC Greensboro) and CHI Health Center (home to the Creighton Blue Jays) are the only venues hosting with a Division I resident. The Golden 1 Center and Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse are the only venues that host NBA games. Most of the other venues hosting March Madness 2020 are used for other purposes.

Quicken Loans Hosts March Madness
Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse hosting a Cleveland Cavaliers game.

When looking for tickets to the first and second rounds for the NCAA March Madness Tournament, be sure to pay attention to which session you are getting tickets for. Each round will have a morning and evening session making four total sessions. There are also tickets that will grant access for all sessions.

Sites of the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight Games

After these rounds, the tournament moves into four new cities which host the ‘regional’ match-ups. These venues are a little bit larger with all venues normally hosting NBA games. For the first time Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, which has hosted the Final Four in the past, will be hosting a regional. The other three regionals will be held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Toyota Center in Houston, and Madison Square Garden in New York.

Lucas Oil Stadium March Madness
Lucas Oil Stadium home of the Indianapolis Colts hosting the Final Four.

Tickets can be purchased separately for each round. If you have the upmost confidence in your team, you can purchase an "All-Sessions" pass which will give you admission to all of the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight games.

The winner of each regional moves on to the 2020 Final Four in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Final Four at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

The conclusion of March Madness 2020 will be held at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the home of the Atlanta Falcons. In addition to two Final Four games and one National Championship game, the entire weekend will be filled with fun for attendees of all ages.

Outside Mercedes Benz Stadium
The Road to the Final Four ends here at Mercedes Benz Stadium (Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Saturday, April 4th will bring the Final Four games, while Sunday will be filled with the Final Four Fan Fest and the March Madness Music Festival featuring Taylor Swift. The Fan Fest continues on Monday, April 6th before the National Championship is played later that night.