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NCAA announces Dayton will host First Four tournament through 2022

NCAA announces Dayton will host First Four tournament through 2022 (WKEF/WRGT)

UPDATE (WKEF/WRGT) -- It's a slam dunk for Dayton The NCAA will keep the First Four games here. The announcement made today, April 18, 2017.

The road to the Final Four will start here in Dayton at UD arena for the next five years.

Dayton was already scheduled to host the First Four next year. After that, It was up in the air. We had some strong competition, but Dayton came out the winner.

"This place is built for basketball, the arena is built for basketball and our town is built for basketball," said University of Dayton Athletic Director Neil Sullivan.

The NCAA obviously agrees. That's why it is keeping the First Four games in Dayton through 2022.

"We like to think of ourselves as the epicenter of college basketball ) Both our men's and women's teams are annually in the NCAA tournament. We"re hosting NCAA games so we kind of live for March," said Sullivan.

March Madness and the First Four bring millions of dollars to the Dayton community and restaurants like Zombie Dogz cash in.

"We're really excited, it's great for Dayton that that's going to stick around, it's definitely great for all the businesses down here on brown street," said Zombie Dogz employee Trisha Clark.

Zombie Dogz just opened in November so, last month was this restaurant's first First Four.

"We definitely saw business pick up. We had some nice crowds in here, big groups coming in together either before or after the games," said Clark.

It's estimated four and a half million dollars was spent in town during the First Four last month

"Whether it's at our hotels,whether it's restaurants, retail, at nightclubs, those types of things," said Montgomery County Convention and Visitor Bureau President Jacquie Powell.

The Convention and Visitor Bureau goes all out for the First Four, Greeting each team at it's hotel.

It's small touches like this that may have kept the games here in Dayton.

"We really try to make each team feel like you know this is the road to the Final Four.

I think our community has done a very very good job of hosting the event," said Powell.

Detroit , Evansville, Indiana and other cities were vying for the First Four this year.

Dayton is the only city to host these games since they started in 2011.

The athletic director said he will continue to bid for first and second round games as well.

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DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - Dayton will continue hosting the First Four tournament through at least 2022, the NCAA confirmed this afternoon.

The NCAA made the announcement on its Twitter page. Dayton has hosted the tournament since 2001. UD Arena has been the host of 117 men's basketball tournaments, the NCAA writes, more than any other facility.

The university's Athletic Director, Neil Sullivan, said UD is excited for the community, the college and the region, "we kind of live for March and this solidifies that, " Sullivan said in a media availability this afternoon.

Once this bid cycle is up, the university will have hosted the First Four Tournament for 22 years. Sullivan said he believes UD has grown the opening to the tournament into what it is today, saying when it was first created, the university wanted it and was willing to take it on. He said hosting a tournament enhances Dayton, and is part of the university's duty to make the city livable and provide good entertainment options.

Going forward, Sullivan said the university will continue to bid on the First Four and any games the NCAA will allow them, "this place is built for basketball."

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