1 April 2022
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Tens of thousands of basketball fans have landed in Minneapolis for the weekend ahead of the NCAA Women’s Final Four this weekend.
The event marks one of the largest held downtown since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. It’s estimated between 20-30 thousand spectators will enjoy the event – spending millions of dollars in the process.
For the fans of Stanford, South Carolina, University of Connecticut and Louisville, all that matters currently is a chance at the championship trophy.
“We’re here to see them win the National Championship,” said Fran Parker, who traveled with her family from Columbia, South Carolina to watch the Gamecocks compete. “We are diehard South Carolina fans.”
Parker and her family visited Bloomington’s Mall of America Thursday afternoon – a place the group says has given them a break from outdoor elements they aren’t quite accustomed to.
“It’s been cold,” said Erin Parker.
And while many looking to spend a day inside found refuge at the mall, others braved the temperatures for a chance to explore the city’s downtown.
“It’s been great honestly,” said Syndi Spencer as she left a NCAA-themed popup store on 7th Street and Nicollet Avenue. “I feel like we’re right in the center, obviously the heart of the city. It’s been cool to able to go and explore.”
— Adam Duxter (@AdamDuxter) March 31, 2022
Spencer was joined by a group of UConn supporters- fellow members of the cheerleading squad.
“UConn won its first Final Four in Minneapolis,” said cheer team member Meg Lester, referencing the Huskies 1995 victory at Target Center.
Starting Friday, fans will get an opportunity to experience a number of free events – both on First Ave outside the Target Center, as well as at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Throughout the weekend, visitors can enjoy a free concert, as well as events highlighting women in sports.
“We’re just happy to be here,” Spencer said.