Home College St. Louis Awarded NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship in 2026

St. Louis Awarded NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship in 2026

by Mike Kern

The Missouri Valley Conference has been awarded a future NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship as announced by the NCAA today.  The MVC will host a First/Second Round in St. Louis in 2026 at Enterprise Center.  The games will be played Friday & Sunday, March 20 and March 22.  Ticket information will be announced at a much later date.

MVC member Drake is hosting a First/Second Round men’s basketball event in 2023 at the Wells Fargo Center.

Today’s selection marks the 19th time – including 2020 Men’s First/Second Rounds – St. Louis has played host to an NCAA event, and it also provides the Conference with its 17th host opportunity beginning with the 1993 Men’s Midwest Regional at the Saint Louis Arena (those numbers include the 2020 Men’s First/Second Rounds that were cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic.)

During the tenure of Doug Elgin, The Valley’s ninth and longest-tenured commissioner, The Valley has been aggressive in hosting NCAA events in St. Louis. From 1998-2010, the MVC served as host for a staggering nine NCAA tournament events in that 13-year period, which has made St. Louis one of the most frequent stops on the NCAA Tournament trail.

The Valley hosted Women’s Final Fours in 2001 and 2009 and the Men’s Final Four in 2005. In 2016, The Valley hosted a First/Second Round men’s basketball event in Enterprise Center. The Valley also hosted an NCAA Second/Third Round men’s basketball event in St. Louis in 2014, and in 2019, the league hosted a men’s basketball Regional in Kansas City. The Valley previously assisted with preliminary round men’s events in both 2008 and 2012 in Omaha.

PREVIOUS NCAA BASKETBALL EVENTS HOSTED BY THE MVC (16)
1993 – Men’s Regional (Saint Louis Arena)
1998 – Men’s Regional (Enterprise Center – St. Louis)
1999 – Men’s Regional (The Dome in St. Louis)
2001 – Women’s Final Four (Enterprise Center)
2002 – Men’s First and Second Rounds (The Dome in St. Louis)
2004 – Men’s Regional (The Dome in St. Louis)
2005 – Men’s Final Four (The Dome in St. Louis)
2007 – Men’s Regional (The Dome in St. Louis)
2008 – Men’s First and Second Rounds (CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska – Creighton/MVC co-host)
2009 – Women’s Final Four (Enterprise Center)
2010 – Men’s Regional (The Dome in St. Louis)
2013 – Men’s Second and Third Rounds (T-Mobile Center — Kansas City)
2014 – Men’s Second and Third Rounds (Enterprise Center)
2016 – Men’s First and Second Rounds (Enterprise Center)
2019 – Men’s Regional (T-Mobile Center — Kansas City)
*2020 – Men’s First and Second Rounds (Enterprise Center)
*cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

ADDITIONAL PREVIOUS NCAA BASKETBALL EVENTS HELD IN ST. LOUIS
1973 – Men’s Final Four (Saint Louis Arena – Metro Conference)
1978 – Men’s Final Four (Saint Louis Arena – Metro Conference)
1982 – Men’s Regional (Saint Louis Arena – Metro Conference)
1984 – Men’s Regional (Saint Louis Arena – Metro Conference)
2012 – Men’s Regional (The Dome in St. Louis – Saint Louis University)

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This is the third time for this specific NCAA championship bid process, which created the largest host site announcement ever, spanning 86 championships across a four-year cycle. Previously, selection announcements varied by sport. This process now gives the NCAA and host sites more time to plan each championship experience.   Bidding for 86 of 90 NCAA championships began in August 2019 and more than 3,000 bid applications were ultimately submitted.

Each sport committee, per division, selected the host sites it believed would provide the ultimate experience for the respective student-athletes, resulting in more than 450 total championship event sites being awarded. More than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships each year. The four championships not included in the process due to preexisting site arrangements are: Division I baseball, Division I football, Division I softball and Division III women’s ice hockey.

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