The first and second rounds of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament will be taking place in Sacramento, California in the city’s new Entertainment and Sports Center in 2017. The decision to host it was led by Sacramento State University, the Sacramento Sports Commission and the Sacramento Kings.
Bill Macriss, Sac State’s athletic director worked with the Sacramento Sports Commission Director Mike Sophia for this project. Both attended the NCAA’s Bid Workshop to lobby for the chance to host the event.
“That workshop started the process of putting together bids to bring a number of NCAA events to Sacramento, including events we have already announced, such as the 2016 Cross Country Regionals and the 2018 Outdoor Track & Field West Regionals,” Macriss said. “The Sports Commission then took the lead on submitting the bids and working with the various venues where the events would take place.”
The athletics department believes holding the men’s basketball tournament in Sacramento will also serve as some exposure for Sac State from being the host institution for the event.
Macriss said that as the host institution, our program will be working with other executives from other universities in the region to help execute tournament. He said this networking will enhance the profile and reputation of the athletics program.
“The NCAA Championships bring in the majority of revenue, ratings and notoriety for the association and serving as a host institution speaks both directly and indirectly about the growth of our athletics program,” Macriss said.
This event is particularly exciting for the Hornets’ basketball program. Associate head coach Brandon Laird for the men’s basketball team stated that having March Madness in Sacramento will be an awesome experience. “It’s certainly an exciting opportunity,” Laird said.
The program said regardless of where the tournament is held the team is always motivated. Sac State men’s basketball sophomore forward/guard Nick Hornsby said getting this opportunity will be a huge deal for the team.
“I’m sure a lot of people will come out,” Hornsby said.
Athletics Facilities and Operations Director Steve Tebbs said that the Sac State basketball games average around 700 people in attendance, so having March Madness in Sacramento will definitely be attracting even more students.
Tebbs stated that even though the Hornets are not guaranteed to play in Sacramento if they make March Madness, the turnout would still be great in the community.
“I think even without us playing in it students will be interested for sure,” Tebbs said.
Macriss said that not only will he be watching the game, but he will also be working behind the scenes during the event. He said that although he will be busy helping as the games are played, the entire tournament is special and will be enjoying it.
“There is something special about eight of the nation’s best basketball teams showing up on one day and facing a win-or-go-home scenario. I believe it creates an electricity and energy that is rarely matched in sports,” Macriss said.