Hoopla History

So What’s All The Big Hoopla About?

It started as an idea… It expanded into a regional initiative… And now, after a few short years, the Dayton region is recognized as the Epicenter of College Basketball.

Fans from around the world know that THE ROAD STARTS HERE®, in Dayton, Ohio! In case you need proof, here is a small subset of the mounting evidence:

The Big Hoopla is home to America’s #1 Host Site: UD Arena has hosted 105 Men’s Tournament Games, more than any site in the world!

The Big Hoopla Delivers REAL, measurable economic development impact:

  • Nearly $80 MILLION impact to the Dayton region and State of Ohio (since 2001)
  • MILLIONS in earned media generated annually
  • Global media to Millions of fans through TV, print and internet (since 2012)

The Big Hoopla is home to America’s most passionate college basketball FANS:

  • The Hoopla STEM Challenge sets record number of registrants and participants (2017)
  • Record TV Ratings for the NCAA First Four – Most watched cable TV program (2016)
  • CONSECUTIVE NCAA First Four Sellouts (2015 & 2016)
  • Capacity crowds at UD Arena; attendance capacity higher than 6 of 8 Second/Third Round sites (2015)
  • First NCAA Tournament home game by host team since 1984 (2015)
  • Record viewership for the NCAA First Four; 34% increase (2014)
  • Record TV Ratings for the NCAA First Four; 32% increase (2014)
  • The first-ever First Four sellout (2013)
  • The first-ever 10-consecutive-game sellout (2013)
  • The first-ever, First Four Festival attracted over 15,000 fans (2012)
  • The first-ever, Hoopla Four-Miler run w/ over 400 runners (since 2012)
  • A first-ever First Four to Final Four in the event’s inaugural year (2011)
  • A national Top 10 media market for college basketball (annually)
  • A Top 35 college basketball venue for attendance annually (since 1969)

The Big Hoopla is home to Wright Patterson AFB and America’s top military community:

  • First-ever attendance by sitting Commander-in-Chief (President, Prime Minister) (2012)
  • Over 30,000 tickets donated to Airmen at Wright-Patterson AFB and local students (since 2012)

The Big Hoopla is home to America’s first-ever Hoopla STEM Challenge: an event attracting thousands of students and their families in an effort to promote STEM education through innovative basketball competition (since 2012)

What to expect in 2018 from the Big Hoopla:

  • Another ENERGIZED Arena, thanks to America’s Most Passionate College Basketball Fans;
  • A bigger and better Hoopla Ticket Program to support Airmen and Students;
  • Significant growth in Hoopla STEM Challenge;
  • A destination with broad community events;
  • Continue to strengthen Dayton’s position as Preferred Host Site for March Madness;
  • Another Hoopla “First”;
  • VIP’s, Celebrities, Family Fun and much, much more….


The Tournament’s Most Historic Venue:

With over 40 years of hosting college basketball games and with over 20 million fans having watched a game at UD Arena, the 13,435-seat facility is said to be one of the most energetic in the nation.

Many college basketball experts compare UD Arena to Cameron Indoor Stadium (Duke), Pauley Pavilion (UCLA) and Allen Fieldhouse (Kansas), but UD Arena is by-far the most historic NCAA Basketball Tournament venue – having hosted over 100 tourney games dating back to 1970.

In 2001, UD Arena made a historic mark on March Madness. That year, the University of Dayton was slated to host the First and Second Round NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional games. So when first-ever Opening-Round Game was scheduled as a result of the tournament expanding to 65, Dayton was chosen. The game featured the tournament’s 64th and 65th seeded teams, Northwestern State and Winthrop (Northwestern State won, 71-67). The success of the first-ever Opening Round game was clear; attendance of nearly 7,000 with most fans having no tie to either school. But that success would only be the start…

The Opening Round game remained in Dayton until 2011 when the Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament Committee expanded the tourney field once again, this time to 68 teams by creating the “First Four”.

The Dayton Region has nurtured the NCAA First Four (and the Opening Round before that) from its beginnings to its status as a nationally known tip-off to March Madness. THE ROAD STARTS HERE!

This is a story of how the people in the Dayton region, its business leaders, elected officials and volunteers, embraced the tournament and teamed up with the NCAA to make it grow.

It is the desire of Dayton region to host the NCAA First Four into the future. The events and games mean something to our community and partners from across the entire Region take great pride in. The hard work, dedication and unwavering commitment make Dayton a one of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament’s preferred host sites.

Ron Wellman, past Chair of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, praised the past success of the Dayton Region and outlined UD Arena’s position as a preferred host site, “I grew up not far from Dayton, and anyone growing up in the Miami Valley knows how strong the connection is (to) the NCAA men’s basketball tournament… The support the community has provided the First Four has raised Dayton’s reputation to being considered one of the best cities that host the tournament.”