CINCINNATI (Cincinnati Enquirer) - Cincinnati will no longer host NCAA men’s basketball championship tournament games in 2022, the NCAA confirmed to FOX19 NOW’s media partners at The Enquirer.
The games will be moved to Indianapolis instead of being played at Heritage Bank Center, a decision that indicates long-talked about renovations to the 17,556 capacity riverfront venue aren't in the works.
“NCAA March Madness games scheduled for Cincinnati in 2022 are being moved to Indianapolis to allow more time for the newly-renamed Heritage Bank Center to complete current and future planned renovations,” the NCAA said in a statement. “These first- and second-round Division I men’s basketball championship games will now be played at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse, and Cincinnati will have the opportunity to bid on hosting future March Madness rounds.”
The city of Cincinnati won a bid in 2017 to host the NCAA tournament for the first time in 30 years. But there was a stipulation.
It would only happen if the owners of Heritage Bank Center – Michigan-based Nederlander Entertainment – and local officials could figure out how to pay for upgrades in excess of $200 million.
Calls made by The Enquirer to a Nederlander official and Heritage Bank Center spokesperson were not returned as of early Wednesday afternoon.
A change of venue to UC's Fifth Third Arena or Xavier's Cintas Center wasn't possible for multiple reasons, a source said, but primarily due to arena capacity. The financial modeling was built based on much larger venues (Fifth Third seats 12,012, Cintas Center 10,250).
Other 2020 first/second round sites include: Brooklyn, Denver, Detroit, Dallas, Minneapolis, Memphis, Lexington, Kentucky; Raleigh, San Jose, Providence, Rhode Island; Boise, Idaho; and Wichita, Kansas.