After the 2018 Super Bowl, the high-profile events for U.S. Bank Stadium won’t be over—the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four is coming to town, bringing March Madness’ oft-dramatic finale back to Minneapolis for the first time since 2001. Planning the madness is the job of Kate Mortenson, a former TV news editor and principal of a community organizing consulting group. The Final Four includes more than just the hoops: It has a gigantic event schedule including a free music fest. Her task in 2017 is laying the groundwork for it all—and convincing the NCAA that Minnesota doesn’t need to wait another 18 years for its next Final Four.
Now that the Super Bowl is over, Minneapolis’ next big sports event is the NCAA Final Four, and come April, the city will once again be inundated with tens of thousands of sports fans, celebrities, and wall-to-wall media exposure. Kate Mortenson rightly deserves the lion’s share of the credit, first as the leader of the bidding team that landed rights in 2014 and now as head of the local organizing committee. Her achievement is impressive for many reasons, not the least of which is showing once again that a cold-weather city like Minneapolis can land the biggest sporting spectacles under the right leadership.