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MBB: MVC Tourney Stays in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS, Missouri -- The Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament will remain in St. Louis through at least 2018, MVC Commissioner Doug Elgin has announced. The MVC Presidents Council, following a recommendation of the league’s Joint Committee, voted to keep the tournament in St. Louis after considering bids from multiple cities.

The agreement is for three years (March 3-6, 2016; March 2-5, 2017; and March 1-4, 2018), with the league holding an option for the 2019 and 2020 MVC tournaments. Notably, the MVC will conduct its 25th-straight men’s basketball tournament in St. Louis in 2015, having staged the event in Kiel Auditorium (1991), the Saint Louis Arena (1992-94) and Scottrade Center (1995-present).

“This was an important decision for our conference, and we are excited to be able to continue the remarkable run that our tournament has enjoyed in this neutral city,” said Elgin. “We are indebted to Scottrade Center, the St. Louis Sports Commission, the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission and all of our partners in St. Louis who have made it possible for us to grow Arch Madness in a first-class fashion.

“I’d like to commend two other cities -- Chicago and Kansas City -- who put together very compelling proposals. The amenities offered, coupled with the professionalism they displayed, made this a very challenging process for our membership,” Elgin added.

Only the Big East Conference has had a longer, continuously-running event at the same neutral site than has the Missouri Valley with its Arch Madness, which has built a strong tradition with the men’s basketball championship in St. Louis. The Big East has played its men’s tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York City every year since 1981 (34th consecutive year in 2014).

Before moving to the new American Airlines Center in Dallas for the 2003 tournament, the Big 12/Big 8 event had been staged at Kemper Arena in Kansas City since 1977 before moving to the Texas site (a string of 26-straight in Kansas City). With today’s announcement, the Missouri Valley Conference will be celebrating its 28th year in St. Louis during the 2018 tournament, surpassing that streak.

The Missouri Valley Conference has had a turnstile of better than 50,000 in each of the past 12 seasons, and the league holds the Scottrade Center record for a basketball game (22,612 for the semifinals and final in 2007). More than 1 million fans have attended the MVC Tournament in its first 24 seasons in St. Louis. Notably, since 2003, Arch Madness has featured at least one nationally ranked team six times, including last year’s No. 2 Wichita State squad.

The St. Louis Business Journal has noted the MVC Men’s Basketball Tournament is one of the top five conventions in St. Louis, averaging over $16 million in economic impact and nearly $10 million in direct spending in the region over the past three tournaments (2012, 2013, 2014).

In addition, the city of St. Louis has staged four NCAA basketball events at Scottrade Center, including Women’s Final Fours (2001, 2009) and two preliminary men’s events (1998, 2014).
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