SBD/October 16, 2013/Colleges

SEC Basketball Calls Nashville Home With 12 Tourneys Set For Bridgestone Arena

Bridgestone Arena will host nine men's and three women's SEC tournaments
The SEC yesterday formally announced that Bridgestone Arena will host 12 consecutive SEC basketball tournaments -- a mix of men's and women's events -- beginning in '15, and SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said the conference has a "significant comfort zone with Nashville," according to David Climer of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. Slive added, "It's a great fit for our fans." The new agreement includes "nine men's and three women's" conference tournaments. By the time the contract expires, Nashville "will have played host to the SEC Tournament -- either men's or women's -- 21 out of 26 years," dating back to '01. Just as Atlanta has "became the home of the SEC Championship Game in football, Music City is now the conference's hoops headquarters." Climer writes Slive "identified Nashville as the ideal anchor for SEC tournaments and set the mechanism in motion to get it done." Slive: "With the football championship game in Atlanta, we have found that fans get comfortable with where to go, how to get there, where to stay and all those things" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 10/16). ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy reported St. Louis and Tampa likely "will split" the '18 and '22 men's tournaments, while the Georgia Dome "already had been awarded" the '14 event. Slive said that the reason the SEC was looking for a primary home for its men's basketball tournament is "because of the success of the league's permanent sites in football and baseball" (ESPN.com, 10/15).

ALL A DREAM ABOUT TENNESSEE: In Memphis, Kyle Veazey writes, "I don't know to what degree Memphis interests were pursuing the SEC in this most recent run; I suspect the league has had its focus on Nashville and only Nashville for quite some time." Because FedExForum was not selected for the SEC tourney, it "keeps the building open for future American Athletic Conference tournaments." But SEC tournaments "would surely mean more to Downtown and more to the local economy than any future AAC tournaments" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 10/16).
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