INDIANAPOLIS — March Madness will be coming to Indianapolis in 2022 because Cincinnati's downtown arena won't be ready to host the games.
The NCAA confirmed Wednesday that Cincinnati's Heritage Bank Center will no longer be the site of first and second round men's tournament games in March of 2022. Instead, the six games will be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home of the Pacers.
This unusual move by the Indianapolis-based NCAA is because of the condition of Heritage Bank Center, a 17,556 seat arena built in 1975 and located next to the Cincinnati baseball stadium.
Renovation of the arena, once known as Riverfront Coliseum, appears to be behind schedule. According to Meg Durham, Associate Director of Communications for the NCAA, "games scheduled for Cincinnati in 2022 are being moved to Indianapolis to allow more time for the newly-named Heritage Bank Bank Center to complete current and future planned renovations."
Cincinnati will be allowed to bid on future tournament games, but 2022 is out.
Indianapolis has a full slate of high-profile sports events in the near future. NCAA regional men's tournament games will be held here next year. Indianapolis is the site of the 2021 Men's Final Four and now the 2022 first and second round games.
In addition to the NCAA basketball events, the city will host the 2021 NBA All Star game, the 2022 College Football Championship Game, and the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament in 2020 and 2022.