March Madness Getting The Las Vegas Treatment In 2023

Posted on October 27, 2020 - Last Updated on November 11, 2020

The NCAA announced that Las Vegas will host an NCAA tournament men’s basketball regional competition for the first time in 2023. The Silver State will also be home to the 2026 hockey final affectionately known as the Frozen Four.

In the statement, the NCAA detailed locations for more than 450 selections of host sites for preliminary rounds and finals for the championships in Divisions I, II and III. Nevada will host 11 college championship events beginning in 2023.

New NCAA policy allows for Nevada to host championship events

This is the first time the NCAA has selected sites for championship events since lifting its ban on states that offer legal single-game sports betting. The restriction was temporarily lifted in 2018 and completely removed a year later.

“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,” said Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s senior vice president of basketball. “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.”

The NCAA received more than 3,000 submissions from NCAA member schools, conferences, sports commissions, and cities showing interest to host NCAA championship events. Nevada made many submissions to host events.

The men’s Division I basketball regional in 2023 will be the first time Nevada hasn’t hosted a major college championship since 1991. The Thomas and Mack Center on the campus of UNLV was the host of a Division I women’s basketball regional.

Sweet 16 and Elite 8 coming to Las Vegas

The NCAA basketball regional during March Madness includes the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 rounds. The games will take place at T-Mobile Arena behind New York-New York and next to Park MGM.

The winners from the Sweet 16 will move on to the Elite 8 round of the NCAA basketball tournament. The winner of the 2023 Elite 8 will go on to play in the Final Four at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX.

March Madness will go to another level in Las Vegas

The first four days of March Madness is one of the busiest weekends of the year in Las Vegas. In addition to the first four days of the NCAA basketball tournament, many colleges are on spring break. St. Patrick’s Day will sometimes fall during the events, creating an enormous party in Las Vegas.

Sportsbooks overflow with basketball fans and bettors during the first weekend of March Madness. Some sportsbooks even charge guests more than $100 per day to reserve a seat to watch all of the action. Bars, restaurants and ballrooms host watch events with packages that can cost thousands of dollars.

The regionals take place after this busy March Madness weekend in Las Vegas. Crowds in Las Vegas are typically much smaller for these games. That could change when Las Vegas hosts Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games.

The crowds will likely be different during the NCAA men’s basketball regionals. Hosting the event will bring more than just gamblers who enjoy wagering on 12 hours of college basketball each day. The regionals will additionally bring fans and families of the participating teams to Las Vegas.

March Madness in 2023 is gonna be a massive party, longer than any other NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Frozen Four and more

Nevada will host a total of 11 NCAA events between 2023 and 2026. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Regional is the big news but the state will also host championship events in hockey, golf, soccer and bowling.

The final four teams playing in the annual college hockey tournament are often called the Frozen Four. This event will also take place at T-Mobile Arena. The Frozen Four will occur in 2026. There will be many more events in Las Vegas between now and then.

  • 2023 Division I men’s golf regional: Bear’s Best
  • 2023 NCAA women’s bowling championship: South Point
  • 2024 Division I women’s golf regional: Spanish Trail
  • 2024 Division III men’s golf championship: Boulder Creek Golf Club and The Legacy
  • 2024 Division III men’s and women’s soccer championships: UNLV
  • 2025 Division II women’s golf championship: Boulder Creek Golf Club
  • 2026 men’s championships in golf: Boulder Creek Golf Club

Reno will host two more NCAA championship events:

  • 2025 Division I men’s golf championship regional: Montrêux Golf & Country Club
  • 2025 Women’s bowling championship finals: National Bowling Stadium

Las Vegas is typically home to multiple NCAA conference tournaments each year. Allegiant Stadium is also poised to host college football championship games in the future.

Photo by AP / Bill Wippert
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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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