K-STATE SPORTS INFORMATION
June 1, 2012
MANHATTAN, Kan. - K-State President Kirk Schulz, Athletics Director John Currie and Head Coach Bruce Weber say the contract extension to keep the Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball Championship at Kansas City’s Sprint Center through 2016 demonstrates a profound commitment by the city to the Big 12 and continues a rich tradition of college basketball that dates back to 1946.
“The City of Kansas City has been a terrific host for our basketball championship for many years and we are thrilled to be heading back to Sprint Center each season through 2016,” Schulz said. “The support from our league’s terrific fans, both throughout the Midwest and all of Big 12 country, has made the Big 12 Basketball Championship one of the best and most exciting conference tournaments in the nation.”
The contract extension adds two years to the previous agreement and secures Kansas City’s Sprint Center as the host site for the nation’s premier conference championship through the 2016 season. The announcement was made following the conclusion of the Big 12 spring business meetings and a vote by the conference Board of Directors.
“Kansas City is one of the top college basketball cities in the country – home to the College Basketball Hall of Fame and a top-three national market for college basketball – and I could think of no better place to call our men’s championship home,” Currie said. “Not only has the city served as an important market for K-State and KU, but the entire league has benefitted from the tremendous commitment and support from Kansas City residents, businesses and city officials.”
The Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship has been played in Kansas City 11 times since the league began competition in 1996-97 – more than any other city in the conference. The next four years will make it seven consecutive seasons that the Big 12 postseason championship has been held at Sprint Center. Prior to the current string, it also took place there in 2008 (just five months after the building opened). It was also held in Kansas City at Kemper Arena from 1997-2002 and in 2005.
“I couldn’t be more excited for Kansas City to again play host to the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship,” said Weber. “As I learn more and more about our tradition, I understand the significance of Kansas City to not only the history of K-State basketball, but also the Big 12 Conference. I look forward to our team playing in front of our loyal, passionate fan base in a world-class arena like Sprint Center.”
Former Wildcat letterman Carl Gerlach, now the mayor of Overland Park, echoes the sentiments of K-State and Big 12 officials and understands first-hand the value of the championship annually being played in Kansas City.
“This extension is great news for the Kansas City area and all of our citizens,” said Gerlach. “Fans from Kansas City and the entire region look forward to the Big 12 Championship every year, and the support, publicity and economic impact of such an event are all extremely beneficial to our community. Through my years of playing in the Big 8 preseason and postseason tournaments, people from Kansas City/Johnson County have always been great supporters of college basketball.”
The top four attendance averages for the championship since the Big 12 began play in 1996-97 have been generated in Kansas City, with seven of the top eight averages in league history also taking place there. The top three attendance totals overall have also occurred in Kansas City, including two years at Sprint Center, the region’s premier venue which hosts more than 100 events a year, including concerts, family shows and special events as well as professional, collegiate and amateur sporting events.