by Chris Cannon
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Nashville is wrapping up a successful week as host of the NCAA Women's Final Four tournament and some people wonder if the city could host other championship games.
The city was awarded the tournament in 2008 after winning a bidding process with several other cities. That is the year the NCAA lowered the number of seats required at a host venue from 20,000 to 17,000, making Bridgestone Arena an eligible facility.
But when it comes to the NCAA Men's Final Four, or the Super Bowl, Nashville is not even close to meeting the required needs for those events.
The Men's Final Four needs to be in a covered stadium that can accommodate at least 70,000 people.
"First and foremost, you have to look at the facility needs. We can't bid on that one, just because of that requirement alone,' said Scott Ramsey, president of the Nashville Sports Council.
The Super Bowl has similar venue requirements, or it can be at an outdoor stadium in a city with a temperature of 50 degrees, or higher, in January.
The city and surrounding area would have enough hotel rooms to meet NFL requirements.
If Nashville were to build a new stadium, that would change the outlook for these high-profile sporting events.
"We've got a stadium that's 17, 18 years old, you start looking at that. Most of the time you get to 25, 30 years, but you have to start planning now and I think that's a broad discussion from both the public and private sector," Ramsey explained.
Even though the city's smaller, aging stadium is keeping Nashville from bidding on larger championship games, the Sports Council is already going after another Women's Final Four tournament.
"This bid cycle we are already a finalist for either 17, 18, 19 or 20. There are seven cities that are finalists for those years, for the women's Final Four. Then we'll bid on the NCAA men's tournament for 18, 19, or 20 when that opens up this summer," Ramsey said.
Nashville has already been chosen to host the SEC Men's and Women's tournaments multiple times over the next decade.