New Orleans to host 2022 Final Four


Officials gather for a photo after the official announcement of New Orleans as the host city of the 2022 Final Four. Pictured from left to right are: Tulane athletic director Troy Dannen, Saints and Pelicans president Dennis Lauscha, New Orleans Convention and Visitor’s Bureau president Steve Perry, Gayle Benson, Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson, SMG executive vice president Doug Thornton and New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu. Photo credit: Nick Reimann

Nick Reimann

Championship basketball is coming back to the Big Easy.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Tulane athletic director Troy Dannen and Saints and Pelicans president Dennis Lauscha, along with other officials were on hand for the official announcement that the 2022 men’s Final Four is coming to New Orleans at a press conference Thursday afternoon. Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson was also in attendance.

This will be the sixth time New Orleans hosts the event, which is the conclusion of the NCAA tournament, commonly called “March Madness.”

The 2022 Final Four is just one addition to a growing list of major sporting events New Orleans is set to host over the coming years.

In February, New Orleans will host the 2017 NBA All-Star game after it was relocated from Charlotte. Other upcoming major sporting events include the 2020 College Football Playoff championship game and the 2020 women’s Final Four. Plans are also in place for the city to bid on hosting Super Bowl LVII in 2023, according to Lauscha.

The All-Star game will be the first major sporting event New Orleans hosts since they hosted the same event in 2014, part of an impressive stretch that included hosting the Super Bowl and women’s Final Four in 2013, as well as the men’s Final Four in 2012.

In a city that is so used to hosting championships, many would say that New Orleans is currently in a bit of a hosting drought, which New Orleans Convention and Visitor’s Bureau president Steve Perry addressed.

“Why does New Orleans seem to have lost its game recently? Why aren’t we getting these major championships?” Perry said. “Everyone still knows in their heart that the finest place to host any championship event is New Orleans. New Orleans is a winner again, and we are back in the game.”

Perry also thanked New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu and Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards for their help in getting major sporting events to return, despite the fact that “no governmental entity is flushed with money right now,” Perry said, referring to comments Landrieu made to him.

In any case, enough funding was made available, and Landrieu seemed happy with the results.

“This is another example of a big win for the city of New Orleans,” Landrieu said. “Nobody does big events better than the city of New Orleans.”

New Orleans’ hosting rights come after a series of negotiations between the city and the NCAA in what was an exclusive bidding process, after the NCAA reached out to the city with an offer of a non-competitive bid, meaning the city would not have to compete with others for the right to host.

Still, Perry called the process “the most grueling negotiation we’ve ever participated in.”

Landrieu said it was able to get done, though, through the close partnership the city had with the parties involved.

“The reason why all of this happened was because we have a great team, and we have a great partnership,” Landrieu said. “We have a partnership between the private sector and the not-for-profit sector. We’re in constant communication with each other. As I’ve said many, many times: one team, one fight, one voice, one city.”

The exact date for the 2022 Final Four is not yet set. New Orleans will host its next major sporting event, the 2017 NBA All-Star game, on Feb. 19.