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UD Prepares Bid For Next First Four Games In Dayton

Credit Chad Cooper / Flickr

The University of Dayton is preparing its bid to bring the NCAA First Four men’s basketball games back to Dayton. Last season, the Dayton Flyers went to the Elite Eight for the first time in 30 years. The First Four games and the Flyer’s recent success highlight the growing economic impact of UD basketball for the city. 

Dayton has hosted the NCAA first round games for the last 14 years and though the bid for the next three seasons aren’t due until August, the university is already putting together a proposal. It will include ticket sales projections, pricing, and venue size, but  Neil Sullivan, Deputy Director of Athletics at UD, says they’ll also need to show what’s unique about Dayton.

“I think the Flyers resonated, not only with a national audience but frankly with a global audience,” he said. “And I think all that can do is paint a picture of the Dayton, Ohio as the epicenter of college basketball and with the most passionate fans.”

Sullivan says UD’s NCAA bid committee will submit bids for both the first four, and the second and third round games. The deputy director says they are “in full mode, preparing... to make sure that we’ve got the bid that wins.”

Credit Credit Audrey Starr University of Dayton
The University of Dayton men's and women's basketball teams were honored in March with a public celebration at UD Arena. Hundreds of fans packed the east side of the arena to congratulate the players and coaches for a season that garnered national attention. Fans came to cheer members of the 11th-seeded UD men's squad that made an improbable run in this year's NCAA tournament.

The First Four games and the Flyers' success have been good for Dayton’s economy. City commissioners recently studied the marketing value of the Flyer’s run into the Elite Eight. They estimate the city received nearly $73 million dollars worth of free publicity, with thousands mentions on national and cable television.

“Well, it’s a positive for us because our economic development office doesn’t have to go out and buy that advertising,” said Hilary Browning, legislative aid in the city commissioner’s office. She says the city could have never afforded that kind of marketing. “It was basically bringing us national prominence in a way that we probably wouldn’t have been able to do ourselves.”

City leaders say they’re now trying to figure out how to capitalize on the positive exposure from UD’s run in the tournament. They believe the Flyers' success, and other events like it, can bring people into the region to live, work, or go to school.

“Whenever we can publicize positive events, like what the University of Dayton basketball program did,” said City Commissioner Joey WIlliams, “it reflects well on our city.”

Jerry began volunteering at WYSO in 1991 and hosting Sunday night's Alpha Rhythms in 1992. He joined the YSO staff in 2007 as Morning Edition Host, then All Things Considered. He's hosted Sunday morning's WYSO Weekend since 2008 and produced several radio dramas and specials . In 2009 Jerry received the Best Feature award from Public Radio News Directors Inc., and was named the 2023 winner of the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors Best Anchor/News Host award. His current, heart-felt projects include the occasional series Bulletin Board Diaries, which focuses on local, old-school advertisers and small business owners. He has also returned as the co-host Alpha Rhythms.
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