Seattle will host NCAA men's basketball tournament first- and second-round games on March 22 and 24, 2019. It will be the first time KeyArena has hosted NCAA men's tournament games since 2015.

Share story

Its future remains unclear, but KeyArena is scheduled to host the 2019 NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

KeyArena will be the site of first- and second-round games March 22 and 24, 2019, the NCAA announced Tuesday.

The Seattle City Council is reviewing proposals to renovate KeyArena. If a bid is chosen, the organizers bringing the NCAA tourney to the city received assurance that construction would begin after the games.

“The good news is that a lot of the discussions about the future of KeyArena is targeting construcion that will come in 2020 and will not impact us in 2019,” said Ralph Morton, executive director of the Seattle Sports Commission. “We’ve been told that if anything were to happen with KeyArena, then it would be well beyond the dates we’re looking at.”

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

This will be Seattle’s 17th time hosting the NCAA tournament and the first since 2015 when second- and third-round games were played at KeyArena.

Seattle has a long history with the NCAA tournament dating to 1949 when Adolph Rupp led Kentucky to its second title at UW’s Hec Edmundson Pavilion.

In the 1980s and ’90s, the tournament was a fixture at the Kingdome, which hosted the Final Four three times (1984, ’89 and ’95) and regional rounds on four other occasions, regularly drawing crowds of 37,000 or more.

Morton estimates securing the 2019 NCAA tournament will provide an $8 million direct economic impact to Seattle.

“It’s a substantial financial windfall, but beyond that for a city it brings the emotion of March Madness,” Morton said. “At that time of the year, everybody has a bracket. And when the games are in our hometown, you’re not just following your bracket, you’re there. You’re a part of the excitement. People just go crazy for these games.”

Seattle is one of eight cities chosen to host the 2019 NCAA tournament opening games. The others include: Columbus, OH; Jacksonville, Fla.; Columbia, SC; Salt Lake City; Tulsa, OK; Des Moines, IA and Hartford, Conn.

The University of Washington is the host school for the 2019 NCAA men’s basketball tournament games in Seattle. In addition, the Huskies will host four NCAA championship events through 2021.

“We are so fortunate to be located in a world-class city and we are excited that the NCAA has chosen Seattle and the UW to host these events,” UW athletic director Jen Cohen said in a statement released by the school. “The Seattle Sports Commission and many other local partners have done wonderful work to host NCAA events in the past and we look forward to working together to make these events an unforgettable experience for all, especially the student-athletes competing.”

Washington will host a 2019 NCAA women’s golf regional at Tumble Creek in Suncadia on May 6-8. Two years  later, regionals will return to Tumble Creek on the men’s side May 16-19, 2021.

In 2020, the NCAA men’s and women’s cross country regional will be held at Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place.

Washington also received the 2021 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Regional that will take place at Alaska Airlines Arena on April 3.