Cleveland, Ohio, stands on the brink of a momentous occasion as it prepares to host the women’s Final Four basketball tournament from April 5-7, 2024. This event isn’t just a series of games; it’s a testament to the growth of women’s sports, a showcase of Cleveland’s capacity for hosting major events, and a beacon of economic and social progress.

Economic and Social Impact on Cleveland

The upcoming women’s Final Four is anticipated to have a significant economic impact on Cleveland, with projections exceeding $22 million. This influx of revenue will stem from tourism, with fans flocking to the city, filling hotels, and patronizing local businesses, thereby injecting vitality into the local economy. The national media exposure accompanying the event further enhances Cleveland’s reputation as a premier host city, spotlighting its amenities, culture, and community spirit.

Historical Context and Significance

Women’s basketball has traversed a long path to reach this stage. The evolution of the sport, notably influenced by Title IX and the success of U.S. women’s Olympic teams, has set the stage for today’s achievements. Comparing the 2024 event to Cleveland’s last hosting in 2007, there is a clear escalation in the scale and popularity of the tournament, reflecting broader trends in the appreciation and support for women’s sports.

Media Visibility and Growth of Women’s Sports

The event is a culmination of growing viewership and attendance for women’s college basketball, marked by ESPN’s groundbreaking $920 million deal for 40 championships, emphasizing the market’s recognition of women’s sports’ value. This investment in media coverage has significantly contributed to the sport’s growth, enhancing visibility and providing a platform for the athletes’ stories and achievements.

Cleveland’s Role and Preparation

Cleveland’s successful bid to host the Final Four was no small feat; it required showcasing the city’s infrastructure, from hotel capacities to convention center amenities, and demonstrating a commitment to providing a holistic experience for participants and fans alike. Cleveland native Lynn Holzman, the Vice President of NCAA women’s basketball, highlights the city’s strategic efforts and the importance of this event in elevating women’s basketball. The city’s preparation and community engagement reflect its extensive experience and proven track record in hosting large-scale events, promising a well-organized and memorable tournament.

Challenges and Opportunities

Despite the progress, challenges in achieving gender equity in sports persist. The Final Four presents an opportunity to further the dialogue on equity and visibility in women’s sports, encouraging corporate and media support. The event also offers a chance to reflect on the long-term benefits for Cleveland, potentially attracting future investments and solidifying its status as a destination for major sporting events.


Hosting the women’s Final Four is more than an economic boon for Cleveland; it’s a celebration of the achievements of women’s sports and a step forward in the ongoing quest for equity and recognition. As the city gears up for this dynamic event, it stands ready not only to showcase its hospitality and organizational prowess but also to contribute to the broader narrative of progress in women’s athletics. The impact of this tournament will resonate far beyond the hardwood, leaving a lasting legacy on Cleveland and women’s sports alike. Let’s embrace this opportunity, support the event, and be part of a momentous chapter in the history of sports and social progress.