ROMNEY SIGNS BILL PROVIDING $1 MILLION FOR 2006 NCAA WOMEN'S FINAL FOUR
Governor Mitt Romney today signed a $1 million appropriations bill to support the 2006 NCAA Women's Final Four Division I basketball championship, to be held in Boston at the TD Banknorth Garden from April 2 through April 4, 2006. The event is expected to draw more than 30,000 visitors and pump an estimated $25 million into the local economy.
"One of the world's great sports towns is about to get even better," said Romney. "We are serious about bringing premier sporting events to Massachusetts. It's good for business, it's fun to watch and it will inspire young athletes throughout the region."
The $1 million appropriation will be used to assist all aspects of the championship, such as promotion, event and volunteer coordination and logistical support. The 2006 championship marks the 25th Anniversary of the Women's Final Four and the 100th Anniversary of the NCAA. Harvard University and Northeastern University are the event's two official host institutions.
"The NCAA Women's Final Four is more than two semifinal games and a national championship game; it is a celebration of the best of the best in women's basketball and a recognition of our student-athletes," said Joni Comstock, Chair of the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee. "The commitment and support for this event shown by Governor Romney and legislative leaders will ensure that the 2006 Women's Final Four is an event to remember."
"This event presents a singular opportunity to shine a national spotlight on Boston and it is just one of the many innovative investments the House's economic stimulus package makes in local economies," said Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi.
"It's only fitting that the greatest event in women's basketball comes to the most historic and storied arena for basketball," said State Senator Steven C. Panagiotakos, one of the bill's co-sponsors. "The state's million dollar match has helped pave the way for tens of millions in economic activity that this event brings."
"This April, Boston will be the center of the women's basketball universe," said Don Stirling, who serves as CEO for both the Boston Local Organizing Committee for the 2006 Women's Final Four and the Massachusetts Sports and Entertainment Commission, which will administer the funds. "It is a privilege for all of us to be able to host the Silver Anniversary of the 2006 Women's Final Four, and the significant financial support of the Commonwealth will help us deliver an exciting and smooth-running Championship."
Events surrounding the 2006 Women's Final Four include Hoop City, a three-day festival for fans at the Hynes Convention Center, team practices and autograph sessions at the TD Banknorth Garden, NCAA Youth Education through Sports (YES) Clinics and the Women's Basketball Coaches Association annual convention, which draws nearly 3,000 coaches of women's basketball from throughout the country.