June 1, 2012
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - 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.
"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."
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.
"We are thrilled that the Big 12 Conference has selected Kansas City to host its men’s basketball championship for the next four years," stated Kathy Nelson, President and CEO of the Kansas City Sports Commission and Foundation. "Today’s announcement is the result of hard work and commitments from many partners including the Convention & Visitors Association, Sprint Center and the city of Kansas City and reinforces our relentless passion for college basketball. We are proud to showcase our town as a key component of Big 12 hoops and look forward to welcoming fans from throughout the nation to Kansas City for this signature event."
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.
"Kansas City has been a great host since the conference played the first holiday tournament there in 1946 and its first postseason basketball event in 1977," said Acting Big 12 Commissioner Chuck Neinas. "Everything is done first-class and it will be great to see the Big 12 hold its men’s basketball championship there for the next four years."
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.
"There is no place like Kansas City when it comes to college basketball," noted Kansas City Mayor Sly James. "The extension shows that our city is the No. 1 destination for Big 12 basketball and its fans."
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.
Facts & Figures About Big 12 Men’s Basketball
- In the past five seasons, the Big 12 has the best winning percentage in the nation in NCAA Tournament competition.
- The Big 12 has had seven Final Four teams since 2002, second nationally among conferences.
- Big 12 basketball has boasted two teams in regional finals in four of the past five seasons.
- No other conference has had multiple Elite Eight teams in a season as much during that span. A total of 19 squads have made the Elite Eight since 2002, most of any conference.
- Big 12 basketball has ranked among the top three conferences in final RPI in each of the past five seasons. No other conference can make that claim.
- The Big 12 had 60 percent of its teams earn NCAA bids in 2012, the highest percentage of any conference in the nation.
- The Big 12 had three teams ranked in the top 10 of the Selection Sunday RPI - most of any conference.
- Three Big 12 teams have been ranked in the top 11 of the final USA Today/ESPN poll three times in the past four seasons.
- The Big 12 had the nation’s second-best non-conference winning percentage last season after leading the country in 2010-11.
- Since 2007, the Big 12 has had more Consensus All-America First Team selections than any other conference.
- The Big 12 has had more NBA draft picks and more first-round choices than any other league since 2008.
- Half of the current head coaches in the Big 12 have guided teams to the Final Four.
Sprint Center Facts
Opened: October 10, 2007
Total Project Cost: $276 million
Owner: City of Kansas City
Operator: AEG Construction
Manager: M.A. Mortenson Company
Project Manager: ICON Venue Group
Architect: Downtown Arena Design Team (HOK S+V+E, Ellerbe Becket, 360 Architecture, Rafael Architects)