The Big 12 Tournament had a tipoff moment Wednesday, well before Oklahoma State and Texas Tech played the first game at 6 p.m.
Earlier in the day, and for the first time, Kansas City and the Big 12 staged a welcoming news conference that felt more like a mutual admiration exercise.
Kansas City loves the Big 12, Mayor Sly James said.
“We’re ready to roll out the red carpet,” James said.
Back at ya, replied Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby.
“This is an impeccable site for our championship and we are very pleased to be here again,” said Bowlsby, in his second year as commissioner after previously serving as the athletic director at Stanford and Iowa.
The welcoming remarks were spoken from a lectern with a sign of the Big 12 logo that included the words “This Is” above the roman numerals for 12 and the word “Country.”
The tournament is the 18th in the league’s history, 13th in Kansas City and sixth at the Sprint Center. It also has been played at American Airlines Center in Dallas and Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.
The Big 12 tourney will be played at the Sprint Center through 2016, and Bowlsby said discussions about future tournaments will be held this week. No announcement is expected.
In an interview with The Star, Bowlsby said the conversation would be about the process. Previously, the event and other conference postseason tournaments were awarded to locations, including Kansas City. Going forward, sites might be selected through a bidding process.
“Going through a RFP (request for proposal) or a bidding process every once in a while isn’t bad idea,” Bowlsby said. “We don’t know exactly what the process will be, but Kansas City is definitely in our future.”