Friday, June 3, 2022
Kansas City, Missouri will remain the home of the men’s and women’s Big 12 basketball tournaments until at least 2027.
The Big 12 Conference voted this week to approve a two-year extension to the multi-year agreement for Kansas City to serve as the host site for the men’s and women’s postseason tournaments. The current contract locked Kansas City in through 2025 and the extension guarantees the city will be the host site in both 2026 and 2027, as well.
Starting in 2024, both events will take place at T-Mobile Center, with the women’s tournament running the week before the men’s tournament.
“Kansas City’s long affiliation with the Big 12 Conference entered an exciting new chapter in 2020 when we welcomed the women’s tournament back to Kansas City,” said Kathy Nelson, President and CEO of the Kansas City Sports Commission and Visit KC. “Our city’s passion for basketball is on full display during the Big 12 Basketball Championships and we could not be more excited to continue our tradition of excellence when hosting these tournaments.”
This past March, downtown Kansas City was transformed to celebrate the Big 12’s return with commemorative street pole banners and a custom-wrapped streetcar, as well as activations in Barney Allis Plaza and the Power & Light District. Additional programming included the Big 12 Big Q barbecue contest and the Big 12 Run.
“Kansas City has been a valued partner, showcasing a true dedication to making these tournaments the best postseason basketball event in the country,” departing Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement. “As we prepare to welcome four new schools in the coming years, I’m confident Kansas City will continue to deliver a first-class championship experience for our athletes, administrators, fans and partners.”
In 2022, the men’s tournament was played at T-Mobile Center, where crowds have averaged almost 18,000 people each year. The women’s tournament was conducted at Municipal Auditorium, which recorded the highest number of attendees for the women’s basketball quarterfinals since 2013.
In other news from the recently wrapped Big 12 spring meetings:
• The conference announced that a record $42.6 million in revenue will be distributed to each of the Big 12’s 10 current institutions. According to The Associated Press, this is an increase of nearly 25% from 2021 and a 10% increase from pre-pandemic levels. Texas Tech president Lawrence Schovanec, chairman of the Big 12 board of directors, told the Associated Press that the league is in a very strong position and that the search for a new conference commissioner is on track to be completed by mid-July.
• It was decided that the annual Big 12 Men’s and Women’s Sportsmanship Awards will be renamed the Bob Bowlsby Awards.
• Television coverage on ESPN+ was added for future Big 12 men’s and women’s golf championships.