Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton yesterday said that the state will “compete to host” the ‘19 or ‘20 NCAA men's basketball Final Four, according to a front-page piece by Nick Woltman of the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS. To “spearhead Minnesota's effort,” Dayton named HealthPartners President & CEO Mary Brainerd and Mortenson Construction President David Mortenson co-chairs of the Final Four steering committee, which will be “assigned to make the state's pitch to the NCAA.” Dayton in a statement said, "We plan to pursue this opportunity and the economic benefits that come with it with the same enthusiasm and creativity that secured the 2018 Super Bowl." Woltman notes backers of a Minneapolis Final Four point to the Vikings' new stadium as the “perfect setting" for hosting the event. It is being “built to accommodate 70,000 basketball fans with better sight lines than the Metrodome.” Minnesota in January was “selected as one of eight finalists to host the tournament” in ‘17, ‘18, ‘19 or ‘20. A decision is “expected in November after a site visit by the NCAA.” Dayton said that no state money "is involved in the bid package and no tax law changes are being pursued” (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 6/4). Univ. of Minnesota Exec Associate AD Mike Ellis said that the school has been “involved in the bid from the early stages” and would “act as the host.” He added that events such as the Final Four "bring the type of exposure that can’t be gained anywhere else.” Ellis: “You can’t buy that type of advertising” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 6/4).
Events and Attractions
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig last week said that Baltimore "was a 'very, very viable candidate' to host the 2016 All-Star Game at Camden Yards," and while the Orioles are not commenting publicly, they are "encouraged by Selig's characterization of their chances,” according to a front-page piece by Dan Connolly of the Baltimore SUN. An MLB All-Star Game in Baltimore would “give the Orioles a chance to tout the team's turnaround from years of dismal results, as well as give an incentive with season-ticket packages” for ‘15 and ‘16 “if the club ties access to the event to longer season plans.” The team "isn't commenting publicly" on Selig's comments "because it doesn't want to be viewed as campaigning" for the event. Selig, who is set to retire in January, said that he would award the ’16 and ’17 All-Star Games “before leaving office.” Connolly writes the “one potential roadblock” for Baltimore hosting in ‘16 is that DC also wants the game “as soon as possible at Nationals Park.” If the “pattern of alternating leagues continues," then DC "likely would be a candidate” for ‘17. The commissioner's office would “have to decide whether it wanted to hold the event in the same region in consecutive years -- which it doesn't normally do” (Baltimore SUN, 6/4). Selig on Friday said that he sees Baltimore “as a leading candidate” to host the ’16 All-Star Game. In Baltimore, Eduardo Encina notes Camden Yards last hosted the game in its inaugural ’93 season, and the only AL teams to not host since then have been the Blue Jays, A’s and Rays. Neither the A’s nor Rays “play in stadiums MLB would like to showcase.” Hosting the All-Star Game would “give the Orioles a unique centerpiece for their 25th season at Camden Yards” (BALTIMORESUN.com, 5/30).