Jacksonville to host NCAA tourney games in 2015

March Madness to return to River City for 3rd time

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville has been selected to play host to the second and third rounds of the men's basketball NCAA tournament in 2015, Mayor Alvin Brown announced Monday.

Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena has hosted the first and second rounds of the tournament twice before -- in 2006 and 2010. Past events generated an estimated economic impact of $12 million in 2006, and a similar impact was projected in 2010.

"March Madness will draw investment and attention on our great city," Brown said at a news conference Monday afternoon. "Hosting the NCAA tournament continues the momentum we have experienced in making our city a great destination for sports and entertainment. I want to thank all of our partners for working with us to successfully bid for the tournament."

Jacksonville University will serve as the host institution, as it did in 2006 and 2010. In 2006, the arena was sold out ahead of the event as Florida began its run of back-to-back national titles. In 2010, Duke started its run to a national title in Jacksonville in front of near-capacity crowds.

"We are extremely excited on behalf of the university to be selected to host an event of this magnitude,'' JU Director of Athletics Brad Edwards said. "It brings tremendous visibility for not only Jacksonville University, but the city of Jacksonville as well.''

Jacksonville's bid was enhanced by the new scoreboard at Veterans Memorial Arena, as well as a history of successfully hosting the tournament with student-athlete and fan experiences rating high in the two previous trips to the city, according to a news release.

"The bid process was as competitive as ever, with 53 cities expressing the desire to be a part of one of the world's premier sporting events," NCAA vice president of men's basketball Dan Gavitt said. "We are thrilled for our hosts for the '14 and '15 tournaments, as they include a mix of cities that have proven over the course of several decades how to stage this great event, as well as cities that have come on to the scene in recent years and have embraced the tournament."

The dates for the games in Jacksonville are set for March 19 and 21, 2015.

For more information on other host cities announced Monday, go to the NCAA's website.

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