Iowa Girls State Basketball Tournament to Remain at Wells Fargo Arena Through 2030

Friday | Mar. 6, 2020

The nation’s oldest girls high school state tournament will be remaining in Des Moines for another 10 years. The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union has signed a contract with Spectra, operators of the Iowa Events Center, to have the Iowa Girls State Basketball Tournament remain at Wells Fargo Arena through the 2030 state tournament. 


“The IGHSAU can’t imagine having the girls state basketball tournament anywhere other than Wells Fargo Arena,” said IGHSAU Executive Director, Jean Berger. “It is the premier facility in Central Iowa and the facility staff work tirelessly to create a first-class tournament experience for our teams, fans, and communities. Given our history in Des Moines, we look forward to continuing the Iowa Girl tradition at Wells Fargo Arena for many years to come.”


“On behalf of the Polk County Board of Supervisors and all of Central Iowa we are excited that the Iowa Girls State Basketball Tournament will remain in Des Moines and call Wells Fargo Arena home,” stated Spectra’s Chris Connolly, General Manager of Wells Fargo Arena. “We are fortunate to be able to work with Jean and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union to celebrate the Iowa Girl and build on the unique basketball history of this state.”


     The Girls State Basketball Tournament, which celebrated its 100th tournament in 2019, has called Des Moines their permanent home since 1931. The Drake University Fieldhouse was the host site until the Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium opened in 1955. Vets’ Auditorium was the tournament host for 50 years (the 1961 tournament was held in Waterloo due to a national bowling tournament at Vets) until moving across the street to Wells Fargo Arena in 2006. Before permanently moving the tournament to Des Moines, Drake also hosted the first two Girls State Basketball Tournaments in 1920 and 1921. Des Moines has hosted 91 of the 101 girls state tournaments, with 65 tournaments held at the Iowa Events Center (Veterans’ Auditorium and Wells Fargo Arena.)


"We’re honored and proud that the Iowa Girls State Basketball Tournament chooses to call Des Moines home. This tournament is a gem in our annual slate of events, and we appreciate the chance to play host to the athletes, their families and fans each year,” said Greg Edwards, President and CEO of Catch Des Moines. “The tournament brings in significant dollars to the community and we look forward to showing off Greater Des Moines and delivering a great experience for our treasured IGHSAU visitors for the next decade and beyond.”


“We regularly hear our student-athletes speak about how Des Moines is a “destination” when they compete at the state tournament,” said Berger. “The city continues to serve as a fabulous host and works to create a wonderful tournament atmosphere both downtown and across the entire metropolitan area.


Iowa Girls State Tournament Hosts (1920-2020)

Des Moines (Drake Field House): 1920-21; 1931-54

Iowa Falls High School: 1922, 24

Audubon High Sc: 1923

Perry: 1925, 29

Hampton: 1926, 30

Centerville: 1927

Ida Grove: 1928

Des Moines (Veterans’ Auditorium): 1955-60; 1962-2005)

Waterloo (McElroy Auditorium): 1961

Des Moines (Wells Fargo Arena): 2006-present



2021-30 Iowa Girls State Basketball Tournament Dates

2021: March 1-6

2022: February 28-March 5

2023: February 27-March 4

2024: February 26-March 2

2025: March 3-8

2026: March 2-7

2027: March 1-6

2028: February 28-March 4

2029: February 26-March 3

2030: February 25-March 2