COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Eight cities across the United States hosted games in the first two rounds of the men’s NCAA basketball tournament. None had more people come to the arena than Columbus.
Nationwide Arena was the site for six March Madness games and Columbus sold the most tickets between all eight host cities. According to the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, a total of nearly 59,000 tickets were sold across the weekend for the four games on Friday and Sunday night’s doubleheader. More than 19,500 were sold for each of three sessions.
The other seven cities that hosted first and second round games included Orlando, Birmingham, Des Moines, Sacramento, Albany, Greensboro, and Denver.
Among the six games at Nationwide was Friday night’s historic upset by 16-seed Fairleigh Dickinson over 1-seed Purdue 63-58, just the second-time a 16-seed beat a 1-seed in March Madness history. On Sunday, FDU’s run came to an end with 9-seed Florida Atlantic knocking them out while 7-seed Michigan State upset 2-seed Marquette.
Cleveland is the next Ohio city that will host first and second round men’s March Madness games which will happen in 2025. Columbus is scheduled to host the women’s Final Four in 2027, marking the second time the city will host the Final Four.