The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


Follow KentWired on Instagram
Today’s Events

‘It’s our chance’: Mid-American Conference Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher welcomes Women’s March Madness to Cleveland

Jacob Shondel

For the first time since 2007, the Mid-American Conference will host the NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four tournament alongside the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland April 5 and 7. 

MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher is honored and excited to have the opportunity to welcome the basketball community to “The Land.”

“It’s an opportunity for us to wave our flag a little bit, and hopefully raise the visibility of our organization not only locally, but nationally,” Steinbrecher said, “and to display the expertise of the staff, people and our ability to run big events.” 

With an increase in women’s basketball viewership and attention, tickets to the tournament are higher than ever. 

According to TickPick, the starting price for tickets to the semi-finals and championship has surpassed both men’s events’ prices.

Steinbrecher, who has held the commissioner position for the MAC since 2009, said the evolution of women’s college basketball has been marvelous to see.

“The fact that we’re finally seeing personalities evolve and be recognized, and that’s really what pulls people in,” he said. “Not only coaching personalities, but student athlete personalities and people can have a sense of ownership to that team and that player that will only help grow. That’s going to bring more eyeballs to television. It’ll bring more people to come and turn out to say, ‘Wow, this is a great game. We should have been here five years ago.’”

For women’s basketball coach Todd Starkey, the MAC’s hosting holds a lot of significance.

“It’s just bringing more eyes and attention to Northeast Ohio, Cleveland and into our conference,” he said. “With March Madness as a whole, there are some things that are happening in women’s basketball that have never happened before.”

Preparation has been underway with group efforts from the MAC, the NCAA, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission as they prepare to welcome the athletes and fans in just a few days. 

Jacob Shondel

“There’s an array of things from the time they get off the plane to when they get to their hotel and then all the way through,” Steinbrecher said. “There’s people and things that will be there to welcome them, to make them feel that, ‘Hey, this is Cleveland.’ And hopefully, we can put our own little spin on it with the various things we have.”

Steinbrecher felt Cleveland offers a unique experience for fans and athletes, with the tournament’s events all held within walking distance from downtown. 

“If the weather cooperates with us, I think people will really enjoy themselves,” he said.

The road to hosting the tournament began back in 2017 when Steinbrecher and the MAC began the bidding process for the hosting opportunity. 

The women’s Final Four tournament is just the first of recently earned bids for the MAC. In 2025, they will host the first two rounds of the Division 1 men’s basketball tournament, and in 2026, they will host the Division 1 men’s wrestling and women’s bowling tournaments.

“One of the things that I’ve been bullish on since I’ve been with the conference is pursuing hosting opportunities, and we’ve been pretty successful in landing bids,” he said.

The first game of the tournament, NC State versus South Carolina, will tip off at 7 p.m. April 5. The second game, UCONN versus Iowa, will start at 9:30 p.m.

“Every array of detail you can think of has been laid out and operationalized,” Steinbrecher said. “We’re holding our breath and ready to go.”

Kelsie Horner is assistant managing editor. Contact her at [email protected].

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Kelsie Horner, Assistant Managing Editor
Kelsie is a senior journalism major with a minor in communications. In her three semesters at KentWired, she has served as a Digital Tech, Digital Editor and Assistant Managing Editor.
Contact her at [email protected].
Jacob Shondel, Sports Editor
Jacob is a senior journalism major. He enjoys writing about sports and has previously covered women’s lacrosse and soccer. Contact him at [email protected].

Comments (0)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *