Conference Tourney Notes: Pac-12 Attendance Drops In Year 2 At Vegas
The Arizona-USC Pac-12 championship at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday drew 16,501 fans. Last year's Arizona-Oregon title game drew a crowd of 18,927 at T-Mobile in the first year it held the event (THE DAILY). In Las Vegas, Gilbert Manzano noted attendance figures "were down" throughout the tourney. The semifinals on Friday "had an announced attendance of 16,596," while the 19,224 fans attendance the semis in '17 was the "highest ever for a Pac-12 tournament session" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 3/11). The Pac-12 was one of four conferences to hold their tournaments in Las Vegas over a 10-day period, which "brought more than 150,000 fans through the turnstiles" (THEATHLETIC.com, 3/11). The Mountain West Conference has "extended its basketball tournament in Las Vegas for one more year" through '20. Las Vegas Events pays the MWC $500,000 a year to "stage its basketball tourney" in the city (LVSPORTSBIZ.com, 3/9).
NO LINE ON THE HORIZON: In Detroit, Tony Paul reported the Horizon League wants to keep its tournament at Little Caesars Arena, and Olympia Entertainment "almost certainly wants to keep it, too," but it has "yet to draw anywhere close to the fans it had hoped when it first brought the entire men's tournament" to Detroit in '16. Olympia President & CEO Tom Wilson said, "I like to see people turning on ESPN and seeing a lot of the people at the game. It starts to build a cache that we haven't found yet." The Horizon League "didn't come to close to packing the place." While the original contract for the tournament runs through '20, Olympia has an "opt-out available after this year's men's tournament concluded Tuesday." Horizon League Jon LeCrone said, "It works pretty well for us, but it's gotta work for our partners. If that means adjustments are necessary, we're going to talk about that" (DETROIT NEWS, 3/10).
THE SKY'S THE LIMIT: The Big Sky has concluded its three-year deal with Reno Events Center to host the conference's basketball tournament, which will "move next year" to Boise under a three-year deal. Location "played the biggest factor in that move." Montana AD Kent Haslam said, “Geographically it makes a lot more sense” (MONTANASPORTS.com, 3/10).