“We're very fortunate to get this since we were always a longshot to begin with” says Dan O'Connell of the Fort Wayne/Allen County Visitors Bureau. “We're part of basketball history; that The Memorial Coliseum will host the State Girls Championship. And that really is a unique situation; that may never happen again” continues O’Connell.
The event, to be held next March, also received bids from Ball State and Indiana University. O'connell says three key factors went into clinching the bid: the fabulous facilities at the Memorial Coliseum, free usage of The Coliseum, and the community involvement with the event.
This is the first time the event will be held outside of Central Indiana. Previously, the event was held at Conseco Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, both which were unavailable to host the 2010 Finals.
“It only makes sense that since the largest city in the state can't host the event that the second largest city in the state should host it” says Art Saltsberg of the Fort Wayne Sports Corporation.
The estimated amount Fort Wayne expects to gain from the event is between 400 and 500-thousand dollars.
Next year's tournament will also feature the first ever Fanfest to be held the night before the tournament and organized by Vera Bradley.
“We're very excited to do this and bring great economic impact to this great city, Fort Wayne” says Vera Bradley spokesperson, Melissa Cordial.
Fort Wayne currently only has a one year contract for the State Finals but hopes are high for similar events in the future.
“This is an opportunity to show that we have fabulous basketball facilities and that may put us on the map for future tournaments” says O’Connell. The event is set for March 6, 2010.