Las Vegas to Host NCAA Tournament Men's Regional for 1st Time in 2023

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 14, 2020

A sign at T-Mobile Arena advertises the cancellation of the Pac-12 men's basketball tournament amid coronavirus fears Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Las Vegas. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

Las Vegas will serve as one of the host cities for the regional round of the 2023 NCAA men's basketball tournament.

The NCAA announced all of the host venues for its postseason events running from 2022-26. Sin City hasn't hosted an NCAA championship event since the NCAA women's basketball tournament in 1991.

Dan Gavitt, the NCAA's senior vice president of basketball, issued a statement on the decision:

"While the NCAA seeks federal legislation to better regulate sports wagering, particularly to safeguard college sports competitions, we are excited to bring our national championships to Las Vegas. The city has hosted numerous championships sponsored by our member conferences, and the experience of the teams and fans has been overwhelmingly positive. We anticipate that being the case for our championships as well."

Because of Las Vegas' connection to the gambling industry, college and professional sports administrators generally shied away from formally affiliating with the city.

The NBA's Las Vegas Summer League was a notable outlier until the NHL awarded an expansion franchise to Vegas in June 2016. The Vegas Golden Knights celebrated their inaugural season in 2017-18. The WNBA's San Antonio Stars moved westward and renamed themselves the Las Vegas Aces starting in 2018. The Las Vegas Raiders were the third sports franchise after relocating from Oakland, California.

College sports have been trending in this direction as well.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

The Pac-12 has used Vegas for its men's basketball tournament dating back to 2013, and the women's tournament moved there in 2019. Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference was planning to use Allegiant Stadium for its football championship starting this year.

The NCAA previously had a policy that forbade states that had legalized sports betting from hosting the organization's championship events. That policy fell by the wayside in May 2019.