We all knew it to be true, but now it’s official. 

The 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Columbus has been named SportsTravel magazine’s Sports Event of the Year, beating out sports event giants the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics.  

When it comes to measuring the success of the marquee event, the numbers speak for themselves. The Women’s Final Four brought in 39,123 fans to three sold-out games, but the event brought just as much excitement off the court. The Columbus community came out in droves to attend events such as NCAA Bounce, Thursday Pick and Roll and Tourney Town. The immense support from fans and volunteers culminated in a truly memorable experience for the city.  

“To say it’s an honor to earn the Sports Event of the Year would be an understatement,” said Linda Logan, executive director, Greater Columbus Sports Commission. “Competing against iconic events like the Super Bowl and Olympics and coming out on top is a Mount Rushmore highlight for the Columbus Sports Community. We are a global player in the world of sports and travel, and our best is yet to come.” 

 The top honor isn’t the only new award that will make its way back to Columbus. The event was also named the Best Collegiate Sports Event Series or Circuit.  

The 2018 SportsTravel Awards were announced during the TEAMS ’18 Conference & Expo in Louisville, Kentucky, where the world’s largest gathering of event organizers and travel planners from the sports industry met to sharpen their knowledge and refine industry skills.  

“The SportsTravel Awards recognize the stars of the sports-event industry,” said Timothy Schneider, founder and chairman of the Sports Division of Northstar Travel Group, which publishes SportsTravel magazine and organizes the TEAMS Conference & Expo. “We are pleased to honor these outstanding sporting events for providing an incredible experience for participants and spectators, as well as the event organizers who create them and the cities that host them.” 

The awards program bestows honors at the amateur, collegiate and professional levels based on the following criteria: 

  • Superior organization of and attendance at the event 

  • The event provided a superior experience and/or spectators 

  • The event’s host city or venue served to enhance the event 

At the end of the day, the NCAA Women’s Final Four succeeded thanks to the unwavering support of Columbus. The event could have been just another championship, but instead Columbus made all the difference by rallying together and making sure its memory lives on well beyond the limits of the city. 

For the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, the award is just the beginning. Find out more about events coming to Columbus here.