St. Louis expected to snag 2017 SEC men’s hoops tourney

It won’t be long before the Southeastern Conference’s men’s basketball tournament comes to Missouri.

The SEC is expected to award its 2017 tournament to St. Louis, sources told ESPN at the league’s spring meetings in Destin, Fla. St. Louis would be the northern-most city to host the event, which would be held at Scottrade Center, home of the NHL’s Blues.

St. Louis Sports Commission president Frank Viverito called the report premature, though he remains hopeful the conference will indeed award the 2017 tournament to the city.

“As far as I'm aware, they have not yet officially awarded it,” Viverito said. “However, we have certainly bid on it and been in close contact with league for the past several months and they certainly expressed interest in St. Louis.”

Viverito did say that he expects the league to make a decision “sooner rather than later,” however.

Sources also told ESPN that the addition of Missouri to the SEC last season was the key factor in the decision.

“I think Missouri's presence in the league has certainly made a difference in the conference's interest in St. Louis, yes, and we have expressed interest in other conference events as well,” Viverito said, adding that the commission has inquired about the league's gymnastics and baseball events.

“We'll be happy to talk with them about any opportunities that could open up.”

The 2014 tournament will be held in Atlanta, while the 2015, 2016 and 2019 tournaments will be held in Nashville, Tenn., which hosted this year’s tournament. ESPN also reported the 2018 event will be held in Tampa, Fla.

Nashville is expected to make a push for becoming the event’s permanent home, a possibility SEC commissioner Mike Slive said the athletic directors voted unanimously to explore at the league’s ongoing spring meetings on Tuesday.