Big 12

Big 12 men’s basketball tourney will stay at Sprint Center through 2024

Confetti drops on Jayhawks as they celebrate Big 12 Tournament championship

The Kansas men's basketball team celebrates after winning the Big 12 Tournament on Saturday, March 10, 2018 at Sprint Center in Kansas City.
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The Kansas men's basketball team celebrates after winning the Big 12 Tournament on Saturday, March 10, 2018 at Sprint Center in Kansas City.

In the events gathering business, Kansas City had hit a recent snag.

In the last month, Kansas City missed out on a Women’s Final Four and the city lost a NCAA championship it already had, when the Division II football championship abruptly left Children’s Mercy Park for a site in Texas.

But announcements like Wednesday’s returned a smile to the face of Kathy Nelson, president and CEO of the Kansas City Sports Commission.

The Big 12 men’s basketball championship will remain in Kansas City through 2024, and the women’s tournament, already scheduled to return to Kansas City in 2020, will be played at Municipal Auditorium from 2021-24 as well.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby made the announcement on Wednesday at the Sprint Center.

“It was a very good day, every exciting,” Nelson said. “This is big deal for us.”

The extension will mean the Big 12 men’s event will have been in Kansas City for 23 of its 28 years. It spent a total of five years in Dallas and Oklahoma City. It was played at Sprint Center in 2008 and every year since 2010.

“Interestingly enough we don’t have much debate at this point about the site of our tournament,” Bowlsby said. “I think our men’s tournament has been the best in the country.”

The women’s tournament started in Kansas City and has spent a total of 11 years at Municipal Auditorium, the last time in 2012. The event has been held in Dallas and Oklahoma City since then.

The men’s and women’s tournaments will be played in the same week.

“We’re excited to have both tournaments combined and operating at the same time in the same city,” Bowlsby said. “We think there is real synergy there.”

The Big 12 announcement came a week after USA Gymnastics announced the 2019 U.S. Gymnastics Championships will be held at Sprint Center in August.

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Blair Kerkhoff

Blair Kerkhoff covers the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals and college sports for The Star.

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