K-State Casts Vote for Kansas City

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State athletics director John Currie is new to the Big 12 scene, but he's already politicking to bring the Big 12 Championships to Kansas City on a yearly basis. A decision on future sites for Big 12 championship events in football, basketball and baseball will come at the league's June meetings.

John Currie has a wish: "As a K-Stater and a fan of Big 12 basketball, I would love to see the Big 12 Championship in a consistent site, and I'd like that site to be Kansas City." The Kansas State director of athletics went on to say, "If you look around the country at many of the more popular sporting events, they are at consistent sites where fans can develop a pattern for attending."

The 14th Annual Big 12 Championship will tipoff in Kansas City's Sprint Center (for men) and Municipal Auditorium (for women) this week with this being the 10th trip to the city of spouting fountains and tasty BBQ.

"I'm new to the tournament, but I've heard the stories of the strong history of our league in Kansas City, and how respected the men's and women's events are," said Currie.

"With the proximity of the two arenas, and what Kansas City has done with the Power and Light District, it just makes a great destination for the alumni of all of our institutions, and college basketball fans in general."

While next year's basketball event will return to Kansas City, earlier this week Big 12 Conference Commissioner Dan Beebe said that the future sites of championship events in football, basketball and baseball would take place at the June meetings that will be staged in Kansas City.

Having played in the conference tournament in Oklahoma City last year, and Kansas City in 2008, Kansas State coach Frank Martin said, "Oklahoma City is a heckuva city, but for selfish reasons I'd like to see it stay in Kansas City. The Sprint Center is just a phenomenal facility."

Laughing, Martin continued of losing opening games in each facility, "You have to realize, all I've had is a cup of coffee in both cities because we stayed such a short time."

Beginning in 1996, the first six conference tournaments were staged in KC's Kemper Arena, before being moved to Dallas, Texas, for the 2003 and 2004 events. Since then, the 2005 and 2008 tourneys were back in KC, Dallas in 2006, and Oklahoma City in 2007 and 2009.

"Multiple communities around the United States have made substantial investments in terms of arenas and downtown renovations, and each wants to make sure they get a return on their investment with significant premier sporting events," said Currie.

"It is a competitive process that's not just about dollars, but attendance and hospitality.

"We want all of our championships in places where they are desired and well received as destinations, and Kansas City certainly has been a fit in those areas," said Currie.

"I understand how it's competitive and there are other great cities in the footprint of our conference that would love to have Big 12 events, just as Kansas City does."

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