Portland to host women’s Final Four for 1st time in 2030

Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 10:25 AM PST
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - On Monday, it was announced this morning Portland will host the Division I NCAA Womens Basketball final four in 2030 for the first time ever. The last time Portland hosted a final four, was the men’s teams back in 1965. In 2030, not only will women’s basketball be coming to the fans, but it will boost the economy as well.

Portland was one of seven finalist cities to bid, and it took all hands on deck from Sport Oregon, The Rose Quarter, The Trail Blazers and The University of Portland, who will also be the host school for the event.

“There’s been a real commitment to women’s sports but also women’s basketball in particular. That was recognized by this committee and we were rewarded for it,” says Jim Etzel, CEO Sport Oregon.

In 2019, Portland hosted the women’s regionals. In 2020, Portland made a pitch to the NCAA and was a finalist to host the final four in 2025 and 2026 Final Fours but fell short. One of the biggest concerns from the committee was travel throughout the city.

Sometimes we look at the map of Portland and we see crossing the river going east to west,” says Matt Reed, Director of Sports Tourism Sport Oregon. “Sometimes that river gets in people’s minds a detriment or a barrier and so we really, really tried to hone in on Trimet and the Max and moveability throughout the city.”

Portland’s funding has doubled since 2020. Sport Oregon says it will cost about $6 million to put on the event, and in return, it’s estimated to make a $20 to 25 million economic impact.

“Our hotels are top shelf as far as the amenities and the properties and the condition. They’re all updated and so we have a really strong hotel product to sell to and a lot of that is new in the last 5 to 6 years, even just the last couple years. It’s a strength of our bid,” says Etzel.

And bars like Spirit 77, across the street from the Moda Center, will reap in the benefits.

Anything that happens at Moda, especially basketball-related, is amazing and the business increase is significant,” says Spirit 77 General Manager, Brandon Bowden. “We’ll be on a line to get in, we’ll have full staff, like I said, full capacity and just a fun atmosphere.”

The fans are just as thrilled to see women’s sports soar.

“It’s such a good opportunity when anything like that comes to a city so Portland, especially after the pandemic building back up I think it’ll be really good for us,” says Jess Unlayal.

“Very exciting I think having more events like this in Portland just elevates the city and the community that we have and it’s a positive thing,” says Jeff Merrill.