DENVER, CO - November 18, 2014 - For the fourth time in recent history, Denver was selected as one of eight cities to host the First and Second Rounds of the Division I Men's Basketball Road to the Final Four Tournament in 2016. The games, scheduled for March 17 and 19, 2016, will be played in the Pepsi Center with the Mountain West Conference serving as the official host. A total of eight teams will play in four games on March 17, with four teams advancing to play in two games on March 19. Two teams will continue on after Denver, as part of the "Sweet 16" that ultimately advance to become the "Final Four."

"From a purely economic standpoint, these regional games are great for cities because they bring in eight teams, coaches, bands, and fans from eight different areas," said Richard Scharf, president & CEO of VISIT DENVER.

Denver Sports, a division of VISIT DENVER, the Pepsi Center team and Dan Butterly, senior associate commissioner with the Mountain West Conference were instrumental in submitting Denver's winning bid. "We have hosted these preliminary rounds in 2004, 2008 and 2011, and based on past history, we will see all six games sell out, with a huge following of fans filling hotels and restaurants," Scharf said. In addition, Scharf said, Denver will receive national television exposure.

The NCAA has also selected Denver to host two upcoming sporting events: the 2015 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Quarterfinals at Sports Authority Field, and the 2016 NCAA Division II (DII) Spring Sports Festival, a six day event that will be held in The Mile High City for the first time. The Spring Sports Festival includes six championships (Men's Golf, Women's Golf, Women's Lacrosse, Men's Tennis, Women's Tennis, and Softball) rolled into one event. "The unique feature of this sporting event is that all teams stay for the entire six day festival, even if their team has been eliminated, thereby increasing the number of overnight stays and the economic impact," said Joan McDermott, athletic director at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Scharf noted that Denver has always had a history of being a major sports destination, going back to the 1990 NCAA Men's Final Four, and more recently the NBA, MLB and NHL All-Star games as well as the NCAA Frozen Four and NCAA Women's Final Four in 2012. "Continuing to host world class events like the 2014 World Lacrosse Championships, the 2014 BMW Championship and the USA Pro Challenge bring economic development and major media attention. And, they are a lot of fun for residents to attend," Scharf said.

The mission of Denver Sports is to proactively identify, pursue and attract new regional, national and international sports events and sports-related business opportunities that generate economic impact, engage the community and support Denver's brand as an active, healthy city. Matthew Payne, former executive director for the Austin Sports Commission and an avid promoter of the Austin sports scene for almost a decade, has been hired as the new executive director of Denver Sports. In this position, he will be responsible for attracting new regional, national and international sports events and sports-related business opportunities for Denver that generate economic impact, engage the community and support Denver's brand as an active, healthy city. He will start on December 1, 2014.

About Denver Sports
Denver Sports is an official affiliate of VISIT DENVER, which is a resource for all sporting event organizers interested in Denver as a future location. The mission of Denver Sports is to proactively identify, pursue and attract new regional, national and international sports events and sports-related business opportunities that generate economic impact, engage the community and support Denver's brand as an active, healthy city. More information can be found at VISITDENVER.com/DenverSports.