Pac-12 considering moving conference basketball tournament to Las Vegas


This just came across my Twitter via Prehm:

Scott has been relentlessly upbeat about this game and has said he feels vindicated by his decision to have the team with the better record host it, as opposed to playing it at a neutral site. "An empty stadium looks awful on TV," he says. He has faced that problem with the conference’s postseason basketball tournament, which has been played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles to less than packed houses; the conference is strongly considering moving the tournament to the (MGM)MGM Grand in Las Vegas. "People will travel to Las Vegas," Scott says.

Ugh.

I've supported almost every move by Larry Scott, but I don't see how this makes sense. Las Vegas is not in the Pac-12 footprint. People may travel to Las Vegas, but not enough to fill up an arena in a city with no Pac-12 ties to attract walkup business, and not when any fan of the teams with realistic shots to win are going to wait a week for a trip to the NCAA Tournament. A permanent home at the Staples Center has been a disaster for the conference tourney, but the solution isn't difficult, and Scott is overthinking the situation. The obvious solution is to have the event rotate through each Pac-12 region: Seattle, Portland, Oakland, Phoenix, LA, Denver/Salt Lake, and keep it rotating so that you are in one place every six years. This makes the event "special," and with two fanbases built into each arena, you are likely to get a great home crowd.

Instead, it appears that Scott is leaning toward the status quo, maintaining a one site policy for the tournament, only making the site outside of the Pac-12 footprint, and ensuring that there is no local interest in the event. The event starts on a Thursday, meaning that you either have to take a five-day weekend off work, or fly out Friday night with no assurance that your team will actually advance. I'm not sure a lot of people would be interested in that.

This is a potential move that makes very little sense from a business standpoint. Scott has been great for the conference, but this already smells of disaster.

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