ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) awarded St. Louis first and second-round games in the 2020 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, as well as the Men’s Division I Wrestling Championship in 2021.
Both events will take place inside the Scottrade Center. Scottrade last hosted NCAA Tournament games in 2016. The city also hosted the most recent wrestling championship event.
"Anytime you have thousands of people as they visit our city and take into our restaurants and stay in the hotels and spend money, it's always great to see all of the activity downtown," said St. Louis Sports Commission Vice President, Chris Roseman.
While many people see, this is as a big deal some still asked Tuesday about what's it going to take to continue bringing NCAA events back into their region.
That includes the need for improvements at Scottrade Center.
"I'd say if you're going to invite someone to your house and we're inviting people from all over the country here at Scottrade then I think we should keep it upgraded keep it nice," said Ken Shambro as he and his family headed to an evening Cardinals game, "otherwise those teams will go elsewhere."
"It's been there a long time and I'm not surprised it needs improvements," said Paul Thomas of St. Louis, "I mean we built a new Busch Stadium and that was 25 to 30 years old."
Back in February the city's Board of Aldermen approved issuing $64 million in bonds to help fund a renovation of the facility.
Former city mayor, Francis Slay and other city leaders testified about why state money is also needed.
A proposed bill by a lawmaker from Sullivan has the state kicking in $6 million a year.
"Do we compete with a shiny new objects around the country that all of these other brand new facilities have? No, to be honest," Roseman continued.
Roseman said that the Commission has met with the NCAA several times, telling them how they are continuing to lobby for St. Louis to play host to their events.
"We shared a vision of what Scottrade Center as well as Union Station is going to look like here in a couple of years," he said, "Scottrade is going to do a lot of work this summer and by the time these major events come to town, Scottrade Center is going to look great."
Fox 2 reached out to new city mayor, Lyda Krewson about her thoughts on the push for improvements. In a statement, she said:
"Scottrade is a city asset that needs improvements to stay competitive so that we can continue to attract these kinds of events."
The Commission made bids on NCAA events across all divisions in several sports. The city was also awarded the Division II Spring Festival for May 2020.
The festival features men’s and women’s golf and tennis, as well as women’s lacrosse and softball. Division II wrestling comes to the Chaifetz Arena in March 2022; later that May, Division II women’s lacrosse comes to the Harlen C. Hunter Stadium on the campus of Lindenwood University.
Washington University hosts the Division III Men’s & Women’s Tennis Championships in 2020 and the Division III Women’s Volleyball Championship in 2021.