MINNEAPOLIS -- Minneapolis is still more than two years away from hosting the 2019 NCAA Men's Final Four but planning has officially begun.
"818 days will be April 8, 2019 where the NCAA will crown our 81st national champion. So those 818 days I expect to go by very quickly," said JoAn Scott, NCAA managing director of men's basketball championships.
The Minneapolis Local Organizing Committee (MLOC) will spend the next 28 months planning for one of the largest events in sports from their new office space in U.S. Bank Plaza.
Not only will the semifinal and championship games be played in U.S. Bank Stadium, but there will be several Final Four-related events including a three-day music festival that will be free and open to the public. This is the third time Minneapolis has hosted the Final Four.
"People are going to find a new and different downtown Minneapolis. Certainly the new stadium, Nicollet Mall will be done, we have the Downtown East Commons park. All these great things about downtown will be different," said Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges.
According to MLOC President and CEO Kate Mortenson, a huge focus will be on the area's youth.
"Our youth initiative will be around health, wellness and achievement and we'll be partnering in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Bloomington schools and with youth, wherever they are," Mortenson said.
Minnesota Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen can relate.
"I remember when I was growing up and we had the World Series and then... the Super Bowl was here. And I think a couple years later, the last time we had a Final Four at the Metrodome. So I remember a lot of that as a kid growing up and just how exciting it was to have it all be here," Whalen said.
Whalen went on to say, "So there's a whole 'nother generation of kids that'll get to enjoy that experience."
The 2019 NCAA Final Four events will be held April 5-8.