By Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pittsburgh will host a number of college sports championship games over the next five years, including some NCAA “March Madness” basketball games.

“Pittsburgh was awarded 22 events, the most of any city in this bid cycle,” Jennifer Hawkins, of Sports Pittsburgh, told a press conference on Wednesday.

Hawkins, who coordinated Pittsburgh’s bid to the NCAA, praised nine local universities, two athletic conferences, and nine sports facilities for working together to get the most championship games of any city in America.

“We thank the NCAA staff and committee members for recognizing that our community has what it takes to host these prestigious events,” said Hawkins.

“We know that we will provide the best possible experience for our student athletes, their coaches and their fans,” she said.

Beginning in the fall of 2018, the Pittsburgh region will host men’s and women’s NCAA championship games in soccer, volleyball, cross country, field hockey, wrestling, and ice hockey — including the Frozen Four — and culminating in the first and second rounds of men’s March Madness basketball in 2022 at the A.J. Palumbo Center and PPG Paints Arena.

“We’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished on the hockey side, but we’re equally proud on what we’ve been able to accomplish with other sporting events and attracting them to the city of Pittsburgh,” said Travis Williams, chief operating officer for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Hosting collegiate championship games not only brings dollars in, but also reinforces Pittsburgh’s reputation as the nation’s number one sports city.

“Who would have thought that Pittsburgh would be punching above our weight class like we did and getting 22 events from 70 bids,” observed Craig Davis, CEO of Visit Pittsburgh. “That’s not a bad ratio. I’m telling you, if we’re sitting in any other city, we’d want to be Pittsburgh right now.”

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