Commissioner Larry Scott says the Pac-12 will consider returning to KeyArena once renovations are completed.
After a six-year run in Seattle, the Pac-12 women’s basketball tournament is moving to Las Vegas in 2019.
Due to the pending $600 million renovations at KeyArena, Commissioner Larry Scott said Thursday the women’s tournament will be played at MGM Grand Arena next year and the Mandalay Bay Events Center in 2020.
Scott also announced a one-year extension on a deal that will keep the men’s tournament at T-Mobile Arena until 2020.
“Moving the women’s event here was precipitated by some exciting things happening in Seattle with our partners there at Key Arena … as they get ready for a possible NHL franchise and other events that are there,” Scott said. “So we had to look for other options, and we didn’t have to look very far.”
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It will be the first time the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments are in the same city since 2012 when they were held in Los Angeles.
The schedules for both tournaments will remain the same with the women’s tourney being played a week before the men.
“This will give us an opportunity to showcase the best of Pac-12 men’s basketball and women’s basketball over a two-week period,” Scott said.
The Pac-12 women’s basketball tournament was held at McArthur Court in Eugene, Ore. during its inaugural year in 2002.
It had a six-year run (2003-08) at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. before moving to Los Angeles for a four-year stint. Galen Center hosted the tournament for three years (2009, ’10 and ’12) and it was played at Staples Center in 2011.
The men’s tournament move to Las Vegas in 2013 and sagging attendance in LA for the women’s tournament prompted the conference to move the event to Seattle. The ascendance of the Pacific Northwest schools’ women’s basketball programs helped the tournament enjoy its highest fan turnout.
The Washington Huskies drew 10,000 fans and the first tournament sellout in 2017. In the past two years, the championship game attracted 6,829 in 2017 and 5,387 in 2018 – the most in tournament history.
Oregon State, the 2016 tournament winner, played in for the championship in three of the past six years and Oregon claimed the title last week.