The NCAA Tournament in Jacksonville, Florida
Two years is not a long time to wait between hosting the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Since Jacksonville returns as a host in 2019 after just a two-year hiatus, the city by the Atlantic Ocean must be doing everything it takes to provide a world class venue, as well as the amenities required to greet tens of thousands of high-energy college basketball fans.
The Road to the Final Four starts in Jacksonville, Florida on Thursday, March 21, 2019. Played at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament returns to a site that hosted the wildly successful 2017 tourney. In fact, Jacksonville has also hosted the first two rounds of the iconic basketball tournament three other times: in 2006, 2010, and 2015.
Data reviewed from the 2017 tourney indicates the economic impact from hosting the games produced revenue for Jacksonville between $5 and $7 million. Alan Verlander, the executive director and chief operating officer for the Jacksonville Sports Council said in an interview, “We have worked on this for the past year, and I think our track record from hosting in 2006, 2010 and 2015 spoke for itself. We’re very excited to welcome March Madness back to Jacksonville.”
NCAA Tournament at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena
Constructed in 2003 as part of the larger Better Jacksonville Plan initiative, Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena represents one of the newer facilities hosting first and second round 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament games. Architects designed the multi-purpose venue by implementing cutting edge techniques, which include acoustical features that create pristine audio for live concerts.
In addition to hosting first and second round tourney games, Jackson Veterans Memorial Arena is home to the indoor football franchise called the Jacksonville Sharks. Fan capacity for the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is expected to be a little more than 15,000 seats.
What to Do in Jacksonville During the NCAA Tournament
Located along the Atlantic Ocean in northeastern Florida, Jacksonville offers visitors a wide variety of water-based recreational activities. On the open day between the two days of games, charter a deep sea fishing boat to get away from the hustle and bustle of the tournament. Sand volleyball matches often suddenly materialize on one of the many white sandy beaches that sit below towering condominium complexes. The weather in Jacksonville at the end of March is typically mild, which is conducive for spending the day at the beach.
If landlocked fun is what you seek, Jacksonville has no shortage of cultural and entertainment attractions to visit. Catty Shack Ranch is a sprawling area that houses rescued tigers. The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens presents fine art donated by benefactors interested in sustaining Jacksonville’s vibrant cultural heritage. European-inspired gardens located along the St. Johns River create a tranquil ambiance that is perfect for a midday picnic. A five mile stretch of beautiful shoreline bordering a lush forest defines the appeal of Little Talbot Island.
Perhaps the most alluring quality of Jacksonville is the large number of seafood restaurants operating all over the city. When you attend the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, book a reservation at one of the restaurants situated along the coast. Fresh fish catches of the day and bountiful shellfish harvested from the Atlantic Ocean and St. Johns River will have you coming back for more.
March Madness 2019 Early Round Round Sites
The first and second round games for this year’s NCAA Tournament are taking place in eight exciting U.S. cities. To shop tickets in each of these locations, follow the links below.