Pac-12 officially leaves L.A. behind, points the men to Vegas and the women to Seattle


From the Pacific 12 website (linked here):

LAS VEGAS – The Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament has secured a new home beginning in 2013 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena under the bright lights of Las Vegas, Nevada, it was announced today.

The new agreement, which runs through 2015, brings the Pac-12 Tournament to one of the most popular and exciting travel destinations in the world, one that averages approximately 40 million visitors annually and showcases some of the most iconic entertainment events in the country. All tournament games will be televised nationally on ESPN, Fox and the Pac-12 Networks. The 2013 tournament will be played March 13-16.

“This is an exciting opportunity for us to create a new, dynamic atmosphere for our schools, our student-athletes and our fans,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said. “Las Vegas is one of the most exciting destinations in the country and with our new partnership with Las Vegas Events, the MGM Grand Garden Arena and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority we expect the stature and energy of the Pac-12 Tournament to continue to flourish.”

For the last 11 years, the Pac-12 Tournament has had an agreement to play at the Staples Center in Los Angeles which expired at the end of this year’s tournament. An extensive bidding process with a variety of cities over the last 10 months ultimately led the Pac-12 CEO Group to select Las Vegas as the new home for the Pac-12 Tournament.

Meanwhile …

The Seattle Times (linked here) reports that the Pac-12 women’s tournament will be at Seattle’s KeyArena” in ’13, in part because of the success there of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm. It has been at USC’s Galen Center since 2009. It will be a week before the men’s tournament in Las Vegas.

As for the men’s event, “we truly appreciate the partnership that we have formed with the Pac-12 Conference to host their Men’s Basketball Championships,” President of Las Vegas Events Pat Christenson said in the release. “We look forward to again demonstrating the power of the Las Vegas brand when matched with an elite property like the Pac-12 Conference.”

Since 1991, Las Vegas Events has produced, presented or supported more than 600 events, including the Las Vegas Bowl, NASCAR Sprint Cup and Craftsman Truck Series, Aviation Nation, NHRA Drag Racing, Rolex FEI World Cup Finals, U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Wrestling and Judo and their signature New Year’s Eve production, America’s Party.

Under the Pac-12’s new 12-year media rights agreement, ESPN and FOX will rotate each year as the licensed broadcast partner of the Pac-12 Tournament Championship Game. They will each carry a quarterfinal game, semifinal and the championship game during those years. ESPN will have the rights in 2013. Every other game of the tournament will be televised nationally by the Pac-12 Networks, which will launch in August 2012.

“Hosting the 2013 Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament is a tremendous opportunity for MGM Grand and the city of Las Vegas,” President and COO of MGM Grand Scott Sibella said. “Partnering with the Pac-12 continues our tradition of hosting the biggest names and events in Sports and Entertainment while offering our guests the chance to experience the best dining, entertainment and nightlife worldwide.”

The MGM Grand Garden Arena has been home to some of the biggest sporting events in history, including epic boxing championships like Evander Holyfield-Mike Tyson and Oscar de la Hoya-Floyd Mayweather.

“Las Vegas has evolved to host people and special events,” President and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Rossi Ralenkotter said. “The partnership between the Pac-12 and Las Vegas will translate into a great experience for the schools, teams and fans.”

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