The Final Four is finally headed , where wagering on the NCAA Tournament has long been a staple of March Madness revelry, albeit from a safe distance.
The NCAA announced Tuesday that it has awarded the men’s national semifinals and championship game to Allegiant Stadium, home of the NFL’s Raiders, for the 2027-28 season.
The NCAA long shied away from taking marquee events to Las Vegas because of its reputation as a gambling mecca.But the stance softened over the years, particularly as sports wagering became legal in states across the country, and many leagues have made its glitzy arenas the homes of their postseason basketball tournaments.
The NCAA announced Tuesday that it has awarded the men’s national semifinals and championship game to Allegiant Stadium, home of the NFL’s Raiders, for the 2027-28 season
In this handout provided by the Las Vegas News Bureau, the Mirage Resort Race and Sports Book in Las Vegas is shown crowded with basketball fans during NCAA March Madness Tournament March 19, 2010.in Las Vegas
Reggie Chaney #32 of the Houston Cougars and Flo Thamba #0 of the Baylor Bears compete for the opening tip-off during the 2021 NCAA Final Four semifinal at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 3, 2021 in Indianapolis
The NCAA also announced Tuesday that Ford Field in Detroit would host the Final Four in 2027, while Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis would get the 2029 event and AT&T Stadium in Dallas would get the 2030 event.
‘We are excited to bring the NCAA’s premier championship to Las Vegas, a city that for a number of years has hosted numerous championships from several member conferences,’ said Bradley athletic director Chris Reynolds, who chairs the NCAA selection committee.
‘The feedback from leagues, the fans of their teams and the media covering the events staged there has been overwhelmingly positive, and we are confident we’ll get the same reviews.’
The national championship this season will be decided at NRG Stadium in Houston, while State Farm Stadium in Phoenix, the Alamodome in San Antonio and Lucas Oil Stadium already had been chosen for the following three Final Fours.
Jake Sindberg of Wisconsin makes bets during a viewing party for the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament inside the 25,000-square-foot Race & Sports SuperBook at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino which features 4,488-square-feet of HD video screens on March 15, 2018
Las Vegas is still new to hosting major NCAA events.
The Mountain West will play its championship game this season at the Thomas & Mack Center, the Pac-12 at T-Mobile Arena, the West Coast Conference at Orleans Arena and the WAC split between Michelob ULTRA Arena and Orleans Arena.
Las Vegas already was scheduled to host nine other NCAA championships over the next four years, and the men’s NCAA Tournament will head there for the first time next March when a regional round is played at T-Mobile Arena.
‘We’re thrilled.It’s pretty exciting to have such a marquee event come to town,’ said Steve Hill, CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. ‘Vegas has been a basketball town for decades. We’ve had an interesting road with the NCAA along that time. It is really gratifying to be able to work with the NCAA to bring their marquee event here and really celebrate what basketball is all about in this town.’
LeBron James wants to own a team in Las Vegas, and is calling on NBA commissioner Adam Silver to expand to Sin City, which the Lakers forward calls ‘a great sports market’
Once a pariah for sports, Las Vegas has suddenly become a destination.
Where the athletic calendar was once highlighted by college football’s Las Vegas Bowl, the annual rodeo, and UNLV men’s basketball, the city now boasts the NFL’s Raiders, NHL’s Golden Knights, and WNBA’s Aces, not to mention the inaugural Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix in 2023.
Meanwhile there have been rumors that Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics could find their way to Sin City, and LeBron James has openly mused about owning a Las Vegas-based NBA team.