The Des Moines Area Sports Commission, a division of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau, along with Iowa State University and Global Spectrum are submitting a bid today to host the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

“Hosting the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament would be a crown jewel for Greater Des Moines,” says Greg Edwards, President and CEO of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau and Des Moines Area Sports Commission. “This is not just an effort put forth by the Local Organizing Committee, but a true collaboration. The community’s support is vital to hooking this event which would bring millions of visitor dollars and priceless media attention to our region.”

The bid includes a few changes from previous NCAA bidding cycles. First, the addition of Honorary Chair of the Local Organizing Committee, Dan Houston, President of Retirement, Insurance and Financial Services with The Principal Financial Group. Second, a partnership with Iowa State University as co-host, given the strong partnership and performance of the 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling National Championships. Third, additional bid enhancements which cannot be disclosed at this time.

“I am honored to act as Honorary Chair in bidding the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament,” says Dan Houston, Honorary Chair of the Local Organizing Committee. “The Principal has been a long-time supporter of NCAA basketball across the country, and I look forward to the opportunity to lead efforts to support this bid on a local level.”

As a Division I school with recent success on the road to the Final Four, Iowa State University’s involvement is a natural fit.

“The excitement for college basketball in the state of Iowa—and at Iowa State University in particular—is at an all-time high,” says Jamie Pollard, Director of Athletics with Iowa State University. “Our community is poised and eager to host this marquee event. We are confident—through the collaborative effort of the Local Organizing Committee—all the participating institutions, student-athletes and attendees would experience a first-class event featuring sellout crowds and excellent facilities.”

“We have proven results to support our bid,” says Global Spectrum’s Chris Connolly, General Manager of Wells Fargo Arena at Iowa Events Center, citing highest regional attendance at the 2012 Division I Women’s Basketball Regional Championships and breaking NCAA Fan Fest attendance at the 2013 Division I Wrestling National Championships. “We are optimistic our formula for success will be rewarded.”

“We know we have great facilities to host an event of this size but we also have been recognized as a community with a lot to offer for activities and entertainment and would love to welcome student-athletes and fans to Central Iowa,” adds Tom Hockensmith with the Polk County Board of Supervisors.

Greater Des Moines has hosted five NCAA events in the past six years, including: 

  • Division I Wrestling National Championships - March 2013
    • $15 million in economic impact; broke NCAA Fan Fest attendance records
  • Division I Women’s Basketball Regional Championships - March 2012
    • $2 million in economic impact; set highest attendance of the 2012 regional sites
  • Division I Men's & Women's Outdoor Track & Field Championships - June 2008, 2011 & 2012
    • $4 million in economic impact per each year hosted; 2012 event voted Best Thing to Happen to Des Moines by theDes Moines Business Record and Best Collegiate Multi-Sport or Multi-Discipline Event in the country by SportsTravel Magazine

Greater Des Moines will host the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Regional Championship in December 2015.

For interview assistance, please contact Tiffany Tauscheck via cell at (515) 491-9350, or office at (515) 699-3433 or