Sources: Missouri To Host '17 SEC Tourney; Nashville Pushes To Become Primary Host
The addition of the Univ. of Missouri to the SEC last season was the "key factor" in the conference's men's basketball tournament choosing St. Louis' Scottrade Center as its '17 host, according to sources cited by Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com. St. Louis will become the "farthest northern city to host" the tournament. Sources said that in addition to '17, the SEC "already has accepted bids" for the '18 and '20 tournaments. Those are "expected to be awarded" to Tampa ('18) and Atlanta ('20). Meanwhile, Nashville Sports Council President & CEO Scott Ramsey said that if the SEC is "looking for a regular home for its men's basketball tournament ... Nashville, Tenn., is ready." Ramsey said Nashville "would pursue it aggressively and host the tournament as many times as they will allow." Ramsey "believes Bridgestone Arena would be a perfect site" to become the "primary" host of the tournament (ESPN.com, 5/29). In St. Louis, Dave Matter reports a contingent of SEC officials in March "visited Scottrade Center for the Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball tournament to scout the city and the facility." St. Louis Sports Commission President Frank Viverito yesterday said that his organization and the SEC have been in "close contact for six months." The MVC tourney "typically is held a week before the SEC tournament, so there should be no conflict should Scottrade host both events." The MVC tournament is "contracted to be held in St. Louis" through '15 (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 5/30). In Nashville, Jaquetta White reports the Nashville Sports Council will "follow up with the SEC next week to discuss details of the exploration plan, including how the SEC will accept bids for open years and whether any city with a school participating in the conference will be able to vie for it" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 5/30).
SINGING THE BLUES: In Memphis, Kyle Veazey wrote it would be "odd ... for the nicest basketball-specific building in the Southeastern Conference's footprint to never get patronized by the SEC." But that is what "appears likely, at least for the near future." Nashville seems to be the "likely candidate" to become the tournament's primary host, "certainly not Memphis and FedExForum." Memphis "last hosted" the SEC tournament in '97 (COMMERCIALAPPEAL.com, 5/29).