Big 12 Conference Announces Two-Year Extension With Sprint Center

June 1, 2012

060112aad_423_6248843.jpegLAWRENCE, Kan. – The Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball Championship will remain in close proximity to the University of Kansas campus as the Big 12 Conference, the Kansas City Sports Commission and Sprint Center/AEG have announced a two-year extension to the current agreement to host the league’s men’s basketball championship. The agreement will keep one of the nation’s premier men’s basketball postseason events in Kansas City through the 2016 season. It also provides the Big 12 first right to championship dates after 2016.

Kansas has won the Big 12 Championship six times in Kansas City: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2008, 2010 and 2011; with 1997-98-99 in Kemper Arena and 2008-10-11 in the Sprint Center.

“This is great news not only for KU and our fans, but also for the Big 12 Conference,” said Kansas Athletics Director Sheahon Zenger. “Kansas City has been a terrific site for postseason basketball for many, many years. It’s been my experience that the fans of all Big 12 schools enjoy coming to Kansas City, not only because of the basketball and the great arena, but also because of the surrounding environment that allows for so many enjoyable social activities. We’re biased because it’s so good for our fans, but we think Kansas City is the best site for this tournament.”

The announcement was made following the conclusion of the Big 12 spring business meetings and a vote by the conference Board of Directors. The meetings also included sessions with the faculty athletic representatives, athletics directors and senior woman administrators of each member institution.

Added KU head basketball coach Bill Self, “We are glad to see the Big 12 Championship extended in Kansas City. It’s good for us, but I think it’s good for the entire Big 12, too. Our fans are close, the College Basketball Hall of Fame is great and the Sprint Center is a first-class facility. Kansas City does a great job and makes it enjoyable for the student-athletes and fans. They did that with the Big Eight way back and carry that on with the Big 12 today.”

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.

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.

“This agreement solidifies the fact that Kansas City is Big 12 country. The sport of college basketball has a great history in Kansas City and the Big 12 is a large part of it,” said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “The city has always been a fantastic host for schools, fans and alumni and this allows our men’s basketball student-athletes to continue competition in one of the best basketball facilities in the nation.”

Sprint Center is the region’s premier venue and continues to host more than 100 events a year, including concerts, family shows and special events as well as professional, collegiate and amateur sporting events.