Atlanta lands Final Four in 2020

The Final Four is on its way back to Atlanta.

College basketball’s marquee event will be played in the new Atlanta Falcons stadium in 2020, the NCAA said late Friday.

It will be the fifth time in Atlanta for the men’s Final Four, which was played here in 1977, 2002, 2007 and 2013.

The NCAA decided to play the 2020 event in a venue not yet built: the $1.2 billion retractable-roof stadium that is in the early stages of construction downtown and slated to open in 2017.

“I am honored to welcome the NCAA men’s Final Four back to the City of Atlanta,” Mayor Kasim Reed said in a statement Friday night. “I’d like to congratulate our entire bid team for once again bringing this premier event to our city. I’m especially proud that these games will take place in the brand new, state-of-the-art Atlanta stadium.”

The NCAA also awarded four other Final Fours: 2017 to Phoenix, 2018 to San Antonio, 2019 to Minneapolis and 2021 to Indianapolis.

The site-selection process began last year. NCAA representatives visited Atlanta in August to learn about the new stadium and other aspects of the city’s pitch.

The Atlanta bid group – consisting of representatives of the Atlanta Sports Council, the Falcons, the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, Georgia Tech and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority — was in Indianapolis on Tuesday for a final presentation to NCAA officials.

“I’m really proud of our bid group for their diligence over the past 14 months,” Sports Council executive director Dan Corso said.

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