Despite geographic considerations, following the departures of Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC, the Big 12 announced Friday that it would be extending its existing contract with the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., to play host to the Big 12 tournament through 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,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement. “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.”
Last year’s tournament at the Sprint Center drew the second-highest average attendance in the 16-year history of the tournament, with an average of 18,979 fans per session.
The $276 million arena was completed in 2007 and has been home to the Big 12 tournament for the past three seasons. Before the extension, the conference was to hold its event in Kansas City through 2014.
“There is no place like Kansas City when it comes to college basketball,” said Kansas City Mayor Sly James. “The extension shows that our city is the No. 1 destination for Big 12 basketball and its fans.”
The city of Kansas City is the owner of the arena.
Missouri won the event in 2012, defeating Baylor, 90-75, in the championship game. Despite not winning the Big 12 tournament, the Kansas Jayhawks went on to the NCAA tournament and advanced to the national title game, before losing to Kentucky.