Jacksonville to again host March Madness early rounds

2019 games to played at Arena; UNF to host track championships in 2019, '21

(Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – March Madness will be returning to Jacksonville in 2019.

The JaxSports Council announced Tuesday that first- and second-round games of the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament will be played at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena on March 21 and 23 in 2019.

This marks the fourth time that Jacksonville has been selected as a host site for NCAA Tournament games, which were also played in the city in 2006, 2010 and 2015.

The JaxSports Council, along with Jacksonville University and the University of North Florida, also announced Tuesday that the 2019 and 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Outdoor Championships have been awarded to Jacksonville.

UNF's Hodges Stadium will serve as host to the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Outdoor Championships on May 23-25, 2019 and on May 27-29, 2021.

Since Hodges Stadium was opened in 2004, it has served as host to many large NCAA and USATF sporting events, including the 2012, 2015 and 2016 NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Regional, the 2016 USA Track and Field Master’s and Junior Olympics.

Both sets of events are expected to have major economic impacts on Northeast Florida, according to JaxSports officials.

Past NCAA basketball tournament events have generated an estimated economic impact of $5 million-$7 million each, and previous NCAA track and field championships have generated on average a $9 million-$11 million economic impact.

“We are thrilled to welcome NCAA Championship events back to Jacksonville,” Mayor Lenny Curry said in a news release. “Our community continues to demonstrate that we are a premiere destination for many of the biggest and brightest sporting events. This is another great opportunity to support and celebrate student-athletes who are competing at the highest level.”

According to the JaxSports Council, in 2016 alone, sports represented over $250 million of economic impact to Northeast Florida.

“JaxSports continually recruits large-scale sporting events to our community because of the great partnerships with the City of Jacksonville, SMG, JU and UNF,” said Charlie Tomm, chairman of the JaxSports Council.  “The ability to provide first-class facilities and a team of professionals that is the best in the business elevates Jacksonville to the top of the list. We are excited to welcome the NCAA back to Jacksonville.”
For more information on either the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament or the 2019 and 2021 Division I  NCAA Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships, visit www.jaxsports.com.