The Big 12 Conference men’s and women’s basketball tournaments likely aren’t going anywhere, at least not anytime soon.
Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark said during the league’s annual media days Tuesday that the league is working on an extension to keep the conference tournament at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City.
“Kansas City has been a great home for the Big 12 basketball championships,” Yormark said. “Because of that, we are currently in discussions on an early extension to keep the Big 12 championships right here in Kansas City at the T-Mobile Center through 2031.”
The Big 12 already approved a two-year extension to the multi-year agreement for Kansas City to serve as the host city for the men’s and women’s tournaments in 2022. That agreement assured it of staying at the T-Mobile Center for 2026 and 2027.
Kansas City has been the home of the men’s tournament every year since 2010. The women’s tournament has been in Kansas City since 2021. Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City was the previous location for the women’s tournament. But starting this season, the women will play at the T-Mobile Center.
That will hopefully be the plan for a while. Yorkmark said he hoped to finalize a deal by the start of the Big 12 tournaments in the spring. That’s good news for Iowa State fans, who have flocked to Kansas City by the thousands to cheer on the Cyclones in the past.
“While nothing is definitive at this point, we are excited about the prospect of calling Kansas City home for years to come,” Yormark said.
Yormark wants to have an alternate broadcast for basketball games
The NFL has already tried alternate broadcasts with a Toy Story-themed game earlier this season and partnering with Nickelodeon for multiple games over the last few seasons. The games have been huge hits among fans, especially younger ones. Yormark said something similar will be coming to the Big 12 Conference to try to tap into a different age demographic.
“It’s something we’re working with our media partners on now, too,” he said. “For us, it’s a way to introduce the game to a younger audience that typically isn’t watching it on a digital platform… So, we’re exploring that option. I want to be the first conference to pursue that and I’m very bullish that you’ll see some things this winter and we’re going to go through basketball.”
Yormark didn’t want to talk about expansion. But admits he’s keeping an open eye
Yormark said there was “nothing imminent when it comes to expansion.” The Big 12 has reportedly been looking at Gonzaga to add to its basketball resume, which Yormark has continually called already the best in the nation. But he quickly quashed the notion that anything would happen right now.
“I won’t be commenting on expansion speculation, today,” Yormark said. “But, I will say this, no different than last year: If an opportunity presents itself for me to strengthen this conference, I’m going to explore it. I said before that I think basketball is undervalued. But it goes beyond just monetizing it. No sport connects better with culture than basketball. It’s also a great catalyst for international growth. Basketball is growing in popularity and it resonates with younger audiences. It will continue to grow and will play a huge role in the future of our industries.”
Yorkmark talks about future scheduling
“Given recent expansion, scheduling and traveling are a major priority for us at the conference,” he said. “For basketball, it is looking like a 20-game conference schedule for men and 18 for women is in our future. On the football front, we’re working diligently, as well. Our scheduling is guided by a few key parameters, geography, competitive balance, historic matchups and rivalries. More details will be released in the coming weeks when it comes to our football schedule.”
Source: Dos Moines Register