2018 NCAA DI Wrestling Championships

Cleveland hosted the 2018 NCAA DI Wrestling Championships in front of sold-out crowds at the then Quicken Loans Arena on March 15-17, 2018.

In partnership with Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, the Mid-American Conference and Quicken Loans Arena, this event shone in our Northeast Ohio Community.

Cleveland set the NCAA DI Wrestling Championships total attendance record with 113,743 over the three-day wrestling tournament and single-session wrestling attendance record of 19,776 during Saturday's Finals-Session on March 17, 2018. These numbers show the effectiveness of an event of this magnitute when hosted at Quicken Loans Arena in Downtown Cleveland.

Event Overview

Through the execution of a youth wrestling clinic, welcome visitor kits distributed to local businesses, a strong volunteer presence to aid in wayfinding, an emphasis on earned media and city-wide outdoor signage, our community was able to go above and beyond to make the NCAA DI Wrestling Championships even more impactful. 

The turnout in attendance and ability of our community to provide an enhanced visitor experience, positioned Cleveland to further showcase our city and its ability to effectively host large-scale sporting events. 

Total Attendance Record
Single Day Attendance Record
8 Million
ESPN Viewership Record

Yes Youth Clinic

A Commitment to Community

GCSC's Youth Education through Sports (YES) presented by University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and The Sherwin-Williams Company hosted a youth wrestling clinic on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at Quicken Loans Arena.

Seventy-five local youth wrestlers, between ages 8-12, and coaches were invited to attend the clinic in conjunction with the NCAA DI Wrestling Championship. Youth participants received a ticket to attend the NCAA DI Championship morning session on Saturday at The Q. 


First Impressions Matters

During the week of NCAA DI Wrestling Championships, digital signage and volunteers welcomed visitors to Northeast Ohio at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

A Warm Welcome

Cleveland's four NCAA DI Wrestling Championship host hotels were staff with volunteers ready with information about the championship and navigating the city. 

Your Guide to CLE

Volunteers were available during the week of the DI Wrestling and stationed on sidewalks between the championship at Quicken Loans Arena and Fan Fest at Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland to provide navigation to and from Fan Fest. Additionally, volunteers provided directions to attractions and iconic sights around Cleveland. 

Swag Bags

Each volunteer was provided the following items: NCAA DI Wrestling Championships branded hat, Cleveland backpack, visitor welcome cards (containing social media information, Cleveland app information and a website to answer Cleveland-centric questions), walking maps of Cleveland, visitor's guides and dining guides. All items served to improve visitor experience. 

Total # of Volunteers
Total # of Volunteer Shifts
Total # of Volunteer Hours

Visitor Experience

Navigation at your Fingertips

Our visitor's center provided a platform on the Destination Cleveland app to host information on NCAA DI Wrestling Championships and Fan Fest. Proximity messages around Quicken Loans Arena and at Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland were activated to provide information on each event and enhance visitor experience. Additonally, ThisIsCleveland.com featured information on the championships geared toward wrestling fans. 

Wayfinding Videos

Videos highlighting specific areas of the city were aired at Quicken Loans Arena and posted on social media to help visitors determine the best destination for food and entertainment following their NCAA session. 

A Packaged Welcome

Welcome Kits were provided to 100 local businesses in order to prepare them for the championship and Fan Fest. Kits included table tents, window clings and additional collateral to display at each respective business to better welcome wrestling fans to Cleveland. 

Thank you for all your hard work on this. It's appreciated and valued. Wrestling is in the DNA of this city and we need to continue to embrace it and grow it!

Aaron Grossman, Chief Executive Officer, Talent Launch, Wrestlers in Business Network Founder

Fan Fest Promotion

Beyond The Mat

In conjunction with the Championship, Fan Fest was promoted within the Cleveland market. Digital ads on both social media and outdoor digital billboards were a focal point the week of the championship and outdoor print advertising were visible on all sidewalks between The Q and Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland. 

Additionally, local businesses displayed table tents at their locations, radio spots ran on both ESPN Cleveland and WTAM 1100 and media advisories were sent to local news outlets. 

Attendance for the Fan Fest included 12,500 visitors over a three-day period. 

City Signage


To promote awareness of NCAA DI Wrestling Championships and Fan Fest in Cleveland, an extensive campaign was created to draw attendance. Included in that campaign were the following: pole banners, outdoor digital signage, window clings, digital ads, radio spots on ESPN Cleveland and WTAM 1100, table tents in business locations and large print ads on sidewalk kiosk locations around the city. 

Earned Media Efforts

Earned Media

To further promote the events, various interviews were set up with all of Cleveland's major TV, radio and print outlets to bring awareness to the championship, Fan Fest and the positive impact this event had on Northeast Ohio. 

Rock Hall VIP Party

 A Rockin' Good Time 

A VIP party was held at the iconic Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in which transportation was provided to coaches, NCAA guests and officials. The night featured food, drink and entertainment in the rock 'n roll capitial of the world. 

Student Athlete Experience

An Experience of a Lifetime

Student-athlete experience was extremely important to the City of Cleveland during this championship. To ensure that the student-athletes were top of mind, volunteers and staff were on hand to assist with questions and wayfinding in both the Hilton and Marriott Hotels and at The Q. Signage was prominent in both hotels and throughout The Q to make them feel welcomed. 

In addition to wayfinding, student-athlete lounges equipped with study areas, food and beverage were located in both the Hilton and Marriott Hotels. Heinen's Grocery gift cards were provided to all student-athletes in order to provide them with nutritious meal options. 

Cleveland Did an outstanding job hosting the NCAA championship at Quicken Loans Arena. The experience was excellent from a coach's and competitor's standpoint. It was a first-class event in a first-class facility!

John Stutzman, Head coach of University of Buffalo

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