Remember when Wells Fargo Arena and the Iowa Events Center opened in 2005?
Remember when people complained about paying $6 for a beer at Wells Fargo?
Remember when the Polk County Board of Supervisors had that ridiculous iron-clad contract to put an AHL team inside Wells Fargo?
Remember when people expected Wells Fargo and Des Moines to land a NCAA men’s tournament game right away?
Funny how we forget those moments. People stop complaining about the price of beer. It’s cheaper than venues like Solider Field and Yankee Stadium.
After the first fiasco of having an AHL team, the Board of Supervisors finally got it right by having the right owners and an affiliate that was in the region (Minnesota Wild).
And all that talk about never getting to host March Madness? That debate ended today.
This morning, the NCAA has announced that Des Moines was selected as one of eight cities to host the first and second round games for the 2016 Division I men’s basketball tournament…aka March Madness.
Yes…our city. How about that?
See what patience and proving doubters wrong can do?
Des Moines was ready for this moment to come. It took a few “no’s”, but here it is.
This is why the IAHSAA and the IGHSAU moved their tournament dates up a few weeks early, much to their displeasure.
This is why Des Moines was willing to host the NCAA Track and Field Championships, the women’s basketball early and regional rounds, Iowa State hosting the volleyball regionals, and the coup d’etat, the NCAA wrestling championships in 2013.
And not to mention, Des Moines has hosted the AAU Junior Olympics the last few years as well.
This is why after listening to what they needed to do to improve their chances at hosting the men’s tournament, Des Moines, quietly and patiently, worked diligently to put as many of the pieces together. A new hotel will be built next to the Events Center complex in the next two years.
So that excuse of not having a hotel on site can no longer be used as an excuse by the NCAA or anyone else.
This news even surprised WHO-TV’s Andy Fales, who thought Des Moines was going to miss out, yet again:
…after the announcement:
The more you doubt a person or something, the more they can prove you wrong.
The credit goes to the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau and others like Iowa State, Drake, and sports fans. We earned this. We proved that anything can happen…patience is a virtue.
That also goes for those who will continue to find ways to player-hate on Des Moines. You can quietly exit stage left.
The haters are not going to ruin this day for sports fans. We’ve waited for a long time for this to happen. When 2016 arrives, it’ll be 44 years since March Madness was held in an Iowa venue (Hilton Coliseum hosted the 1972 Midwest regionals).
There are a few other things I want to add about the news (for one, it’s long overdue for the NCAA to find new cities to host tournaments), but for today, it’s a good day to see that the work towards getting March Madness paid off.