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Kansas City Aims To Become An SEC City, But The SEC Should Be Picky With Its Tourney

To your immediate left is a map of the Southeastern Conference region.  That red dot at the extreme Northwest of the map?  That’s Kansas City, Missouri.  (You can click the headline above for a bigger look at the image.)

Kansas City wants to continue to make money off of Missouri athletics after the Tigers move to the SEC.  Missouri wants to maintain a presence in the city for its KC fanbase (though the area is a lot closer to the University of Kansas than the University of Missouri).

With the Jayhawks balking at the idea of continuing their football series with the Tigers in Kansas City, the city is looking for new ways to stay connected with MU.  City leaders met with Mizzou officials and state lawmakers yesterday to see if the Tigers were serious about playing games there in the future.

“It was real clear to me that Missouri was absolutely sincere in wanting to keep a major presence here in Kansas City,” said Jim Heeter, the head of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.  And that was enough to lead Heeter to say this:


“I suggest it’s a great opportunity for Kansas City.  We keep our Big 12 base and then expand our base to the SEC.  We can make what’s already one of the great sports towns in America an even greater sports town.”

Sounds good.  But the idea of the Kansas City community embracing the SEC is a bit of a longshot.  Columbia definitely will.  St. Louis — which is on the other side of the state from Kansas City — probably will as well, eventually.  But KC?  Take another look at that map above.

That said, there are a couple of options Kansas City and Missouri are already discussing:

1.  Have the Tigers play an annual football game in KC… even if it’s not against Kansas.

2.  Let the Tigers host a holiday basketball tournament in Kansas City.

3.  Bring the SEC basketball tournament to Kansas City.

Mizzou AD Mike Alden says he’s in favor of bringing the tourney to KC by as early as 2017-18.  “(The SEC is) gonna take a look at bids throughout their entire footprint, which includes KC.  I know they’re hoping they would receive a bid and proposal from Kansas City to be able to host their tournament here.”

Are 20,000 or so of you interested in heading to Kansas City in March to watch the SEC Tournament?  Didn’t think so.  Heck, even Kentucky fans might view that as being a bit of a haul.

It’s good business for the Southeastern Conference to award its tourney to the highest bidder.  The league should just know that the attendance will likely be rather low for such an event held in a place far from the South.  Like it or not, Kansas City is still Big 12 territory.  There won’t be much walk-up traffic from folks wanting to buy a seat to an afternoon session between South Carolina and Auburn.

For that matter, very few SEC fans chose to travel to St. Petersburg for the 2009 tourney and St. Pete’s in long-time league territory.

Since being revived in 1979, here’s a breakdown of the cities that have hosted (and are scheduled to host) the league’s annual basketball championship:

City Hosted or Will Host
Birmingham, AL 79, 80, 81, 83, 85, 92
Lexington, KY 82, 86, 93
Nashville, TN 84, 91, 01, 06, 10, 13
Atlanta, GA 87, 95, 98, 99, 00, 02, 04, 05, 07, 08, 11, 14
Baton Rouge, LA 88
Knoxville, TN 89
Orlando, FL 90
Memphis, TN 94, 97
New Orleans, LA 96, 03, 12

Obviously, the SEC has outgrown the days of playing the tourney at on-campus sites.  Good.  It shouldn’t go back to that.  Ever.

The SEC wants prime bids and it wants great exposure and it wants to expand into new territories and convert new fans.  Fine, fine, fine and fine.  But there’s a price for going too far outside its region.  Namely: Perception.

If the SEC hosts its tourney in Kansas City, Mike Slive had better be prepared for a national TV audience to see scores of empty seats surrounding his teams.  If that issue and overall gate revenue are not concerns, then to KC the tourney should go.

But if we at MrSEC.com were handling things — and obviously we’re not — the league would create a regular rotation of host cities based upon top-notch facilities, good infrastructure, tourist opportunities, and a location close to multiple schools in the SEC.

Here are the cities that would fit the bill:

* Atlanta, obviously.

* Nashville is another fine tourist destination with good facilities and a great downtown.

* New Orleans is a vacation destination and it should be in the mix regularly.  Though we’d keep an eye on this year’s tourney to make sure.

* With Beale Street and barbecue, Memphis would make sense as well — especially with the addition of two Central Time Zone schools to the league — but we notice that the league hasn’t been there in a while.  So Memphis would be a big maybe.

That’s it.  That’s three cities (and possibly a fourth) in the rotation.  If the SEC wants to reward Missouri and Texas A&M with tourneys in their backyards, then the league should focus on St. Louis and Houston which are closer to the SEC’s natural footprint than Kansas City, Dallas or San Antonio.

And St. Louis and Houston would still take the league into new, unconquered territories.

Kansas City?  That seems a bit too far way for the average SEC fan.

 


99 comments
BasketBallJones
BasketBallJones

I understand your concern but you are incorrect with your assumption that the games would not fill up. Kansas City is a college basketball city, period. CBB is a HUGE deal there and the arena is located downtown in the middle of a big entertainment district and sits next door the The College Basketball Experience (CBE). It doesn't matter who is playing there, local fans will fill up the arena as well as Mizzou and Kentucky having 15-20k fans of their respective schools there for it's games.

Kansas City has hosted Final 4's for a reason, it's a big deal to the people there.

Missouri man
Missouri man

Oh! some of you guys that are calling out Kansas city as a tournment destination. Should rethink what you are saying. I am a Missou fan and I think it would be something you guys would enjoy. Its a nice place to have a tournment. AS for Kentucky, Missouri,Arkansas, and Tennesse fans it would help you guys more than hurt you. You can make money off the sec and plus get a bonus by playing the tournment in Kansas city. Do you realize you could possibly make a lot a money by playing in Kansas city. So would my Missouri tigers too. Kentucky fans should lissen. They might be getting a great deal along with Missouri.

btlh2oguy
btlh2oguy

I see no harm in KC getting a shot at hosting the SEC BB Tourney. It moves to different cities each yr. KC might spur more interest in SEC BB.

I personally think the SEC Football Championship Game should rotate between Atlanta & New Orleans.

btw Looking forward to seeing the new schools compete in the SEC. Missouri should just fine in football in the East. A&M on the other hand are going to have to get back to 3 yards and a cloud of dust to compete in the West.

GeauxState
GeauxState

I don't think the KC move would work. if the SEC and the officials are not worried about attendance than let it happen but, I don't see our conference wanting that negative light shining on us with empty seats because some of us fans aren't able to travel and support or schools. Now, the place would be rocking if Mizzou and UK met up but bit i don't think people in KC or surrounding area will be knocking the doors for a 12:00 non MU game. Look at how we have our conference baseball tourney set up. It's close to home in Hoover, AL and it's packed every year. To me it's the closest thing to the CWS as you can get. if the SEC wants to expand into new territories I like the idea of the St. Louis or Houston sites even that scares me with attendance a little.

DavidS1983
DavidS1983

These are all good points by MrSEC. Memphis, in my opinion, is a no-go. It's the only tourney site besides New Orleans where fans will likely get mugged, shot, or have their car stolen. Statistically it is much more like there than, say, Atlanta or Nashville. Like it or not, Memphis, these are the facts.

RManFlint
RManFlint

Once mu loses, usually the first day, Sprint will look like TT's arena when aTm comes to town.

Andy
Andy

KC wouldn't be any worse than Orlando or Houston. Both of those cities are at the edge of the map as well. And it's not like KC would host it every year. Maybe once every 5 or 6 years.

Quantrill
Quantrill

SEC Bball in KC. Think ya'll would enjoy it. You get a fantastic Sprint Center, great ball, KC Bar-B-Q, KC hookers and some blow if you want to indulge.

cjwynes
cjwynes

I'm a Missouri fan, and frankly I would much rather go to Nashville or Memphis -- Memphis is much closer for me and Nashville is the same distance as KC, and both are much more fun. In fact, put it in Nashville every year as far as I'm concerned. I will gladly take any excuse to visit Nashville as often as possible. Nashville would be a natural fit to be a permanent home to the tournament, being centrally-located for the whole conference and within acceptable driving distance from all the schools whose fans care about basketball.

rob
rob

Hmm.... I'm not very familiar with KC, but I would have thought that as a city, KC would embrace SEC football more then St. Louis. I am somewhat familiar with St. Louis, because it's been "home" to my family for generations, and, right or wrong, I've always thought of it as more of a Big Ten town. KC is much closer to Fayetteville, Arkansas and there are a lot of Arkansas fans in SW Missouri. While St. Louis is closer to the center of SEC country, KC is still closer to the nearest SEC city. I'm curious what Missouri fans think.

I'm even more puzzled by the idea that Houston is "closer to the SEC's natural footprint" then Dallas. How so? Dallas is closer to more SEC schools then Houston. I know there are a ton of Arkansas fans in Dallas, but probably not that many in Houston (yea, I know Houston has a lot of LSU fans, but probably not as many as Dallas has with Arkansas fans.)

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

Kentucky fans will travel anywhere so you can count them in. The Mizzou fans would fill the place and you'll probably get a good contingent from Arkansas as well. You probably won't get many fans from other schools, but if the locals love college basketball enough to show up for anybody then it just might be pretty successful. This might also be a good opportunity to spread SEC basketball in general. Now that many of those games are on ESPN you can try to recruit new viewers who might not otherwise care about it.Who knows about how much college football they'll watch in that area, but getting viewers for basketball certainly accomplishes something.

Dynamite fan
Dynamite fan

Missouri joins the SEC and now wants the tourney in KC. If you want it your home arena, why not stay in the Big XII?? How about a 4 city rotation Louisville, Nashville, Little Rock, New Orleans. Atlanta gets the SEC football title game and the Georgia Dome is horrible for Basketball.

MissouriGuy
MissouriGuy

I'm from Kansas City and go to Mizzou. Kansas City is an excellent college basketball town (we even have the National College Basketball Hall of Fame). Kansas City is a lot nicer place than Birmingham or Memphis. This would also be an excellent time for the SEC to expand its horizons so to speak. The Sprint Center would be absolutely packed for an SEC tournament, I'm predicting that it will probably happen, just like one will probably happen in Houston before too long

Fayettechill14
Fayettechill14

Verizon Arena in Little Rock, Ark. needs to be looked at now that Texas A&M and Missouri have joined. Great facility in a good part of town. Arena seats 19,000 so there won't be any kind of seating restrictions. Georgia, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky, and LSU have all had the tournament in their backyard in recent years, so why not the Hogs?

RManFlint
RManFlint

mu didn't sell out its 4-team tourney at Sprint this year. What makes you think an SEC tourney would sell out?

Fayettechill14
Fayettechill14

@Missouri man It could help Arkansas more than hurting them, but if the SEC moves the tournament all the way out to KC without having it in Little Rock at Verizon Arena, Arkansas' athletic department and fans are going to be very upset.

BasketBallJones
BasketBallJones

@btlh2oguy

No offense Fayettchill but KC is not Little Rock. Kansas City is a top 30 media market with hotels, restaurants and shopping that is an attraction to fans. Also, KC has a TON of tradition in college basketball. It's a huge deal to the people there. If the SEC had it's tourney there it probably would remain there year after year. When the Bevo 12 moved it to Dallas for a year Big 12 coaches were outraged. Kelvin Sampson and Eddie Sutton mostly.

Think of it like this- If the College World Series was moved to a comparable city to Omaha would that make it as cool or as reverd by the fans?

kcguy
kcguy

@GeauxState St. Louis would suck. They don't support college sports there. Its Cardinals or bust there. They barely supported the Rams and they won the Super Bowl. Kansas City is a college town. We do it up right here and have been for years. St. Louis barely supports the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament! As for rivalries, I can't wait for Arkansas! Yes, the Kentucky rivalry will be sweet too, but I want the Tigers to be the Razorbacks' new coach, Mike Anderson, by fifty points! I already have family and friends in Arkansas talking smack. That'll be a fun one for sure.

BasketBallJones
BasketBallJones

@GeauxState

You guys are under estimating the importance of conference tourneys in KC. People show up in mass to see Colorado vs Texas Tech in KC tourney in March at noon and they aren't CU or TTU fans.

Fayettechill14
Fayettechill14

@DavidS1983 Ever been to Memphis? The arenas aren't in a bad part of town. I've been multiple times and it's not that bad at all.

tidedawg
tidedawg

@RManFlint

Umm, Kentucky fans will be there regardless. You know Michigan State and Kentucky filled up the Dome in Detroit for a hoops game right?

MUTGR
MUTGR

@RManFlint Based on its past history and current team, I wouldn't count on Missouri losing on the first day on a regular basis.

MU Chris
MU Chris

@RManFlint Really? Just where is the 2nd highest ranked team in what will be the new SEC located right now? I can understand Mr. SEC's reservations for playing the tournament in KC. What I can't understand is why a kU fan would be posting about something that has nothing to do with his school. Obsessed much?

Take a walk, beaker! The SEC isn't interested in you or your thoughts. Ever....

RManFlint
RManFlint

Forget the blow. muzzuruh has been #1 in meth production for ten years straight. Support muzzuruh's #1 industry.

buddha22
buddha22

@AllTideUp Without a doubt you will have walk up trade. For those who might remember, KC has been the site of more NCAA basketball tournaments than any other city as it use to be the home of the NCAA. Although it might be a drive for some SEC fan bases, it is the best airport to get in and out and the Power & Light District adjacent to the Sprint Center and the College Basketball Experience are definitely built to support tournaments and tourism. You'll find KC is a huge college sports town and don't let the press push by KU make you think that the SEC will not be supported. After LSU took out the ad for the Independence bowl a number of MU fans nostalgic for the old ties found new fervor for the new ties as they remembered the camaraderie of the old Big 8, which was the last time they experienced that type of support! C'mon UP, you'll definitely enjoy the BBQ, the food in general, the atmosphere and the passion of the fans!

RManFlint
RManFlint

Once muzzuruh is out of the SEC tournament, i.e., the end of the first day, Sprint Arena will look like TT's basketball arena when aTm comes to town.

kcguy
kcguy

@BasketBallJones@btlh2oguy Well said BBall Jones. KC has hosted 7 Final Fours since 1952 and is the home to the College Basketball Experience / College Basketball Hall of Fame (which is extremely, especially for kids).

I really like it when the pep bands gather in the (beer) garden of the Power and Light Entertainment District (across the street from the Sprint Center). Man is that awesome. They have all of the streets blocked off and the restaurants and bars are open. Vendors cover the streets with games and items for sale. Its a great time.

RManFlint
RManFlint

Heck, in the history of the Big 12, mu has lost in the first round of the NIT as many times as it's played for the B12 tourney championship.

Seriously, does the SEC know what it's getting?

RManFlint
RManFlint

You might want to check the facts. muzzuruh's gone out in the first round of the Big 12 four of the last six years. As a matter of fact, MU's gone out in the first round four times and made it to the championship game three.

RManFlint
RManFlint

Make a Final Four. Or pass the 20 win mark in the NCAA tournament. Then you can talk about basketball, kitty.

Fayettechill14
Fayettechill14

@Rob No, Missouri was beaten in the Elite Eight by Arizona, who lost to Arkansas the next game. The 1994 Final Four was Arkansas, Duke, Florida, and Arizona. And yes, Mizzou was the #1 seed in their region despite a 120-68 loss to Arkansas earlier in the year.

Fayettechill14
Fayettechill14

@MissouriGuy Oh okay, thanks. They must teach "respect" at the Final Four, but I guess you wouldn't know since Mizzou's never been to one.

RManFlint
RManFlint

The people of KCMO hope they can count on UK to fill Sprint. They know they can't count on mu.

RManFlint
RManFlint

You need to stay out of the inventory if you're going to make any money in muzzuruh's #1 industry.

Let's summarize. You've never played for an NC in football and you're two games better overall against KU head-to-head.

You've never played for an NC in basketball. Heck, you've never played to play for a basketball NC (Final Four).

You have two NCAA Championships- baseball during the Eisenhower administration and indoor track during the Johnson administration.

In addition to three basketball championships, KU has even more in track and cross-country.

Have a good time in the SEC. Take your fried squirrel brains, meth labs, discount porn and fireworks stand with you.

RManFlint
RManFlint

Will muzzuruh be a Big Boy of the SEC? I'm thinking little bitch of AL, FL, LSU, GA, Miss State, etc., in football, UK and FL in basketball, everyone in every other sports.

Heck, somebody has to scrub the toilets.

MU Chris
MU Chris

@RManFlintMizzou doesn't need your kU stink on any of our things. We're a good all around sports school, not like your one trick pony. Take a look at the competition between the two schools. We're crushing you and holding our own against the rest of the conference. Just outside the top 25 in football this year and soon to be #2 in BB. Go away little jhawk, the big schools are talking. Have fun in the Big 12 while its still around. I'm done with you, I'd rather converse with our new brothers....

Sorry to our new SEC comrades for dragging you thru this. I won't reply to this troll any longer. Can someone at least point him to the Big 12? He still doesn't get this is a SEC board.

RManFlint
RManFlint

You're now the little brother in the SEC. If you need any help moving to the SEC, I'll be happy to carry your single B12 men's championship trophy to the moving van for you. Unless you're too embarrassed to take it with you.

MU Chris
MU Chris

@RManFlint They're not getting kU which will make them very happy in the long run. Now get lost little beaker, the big boys of the new SEC are talking now. Go grovel at Texas' feet.

MoKelly
MoKelly

@RManFlint First, take a breath. Second, don't kid yourself. The SEC is the #1 conference for a reason. The SEC knew exactly what it wanted and went after what it wanted. Which, by the way, is why Kansas didn't get an invite.

RManFlint
RManFlint

I wonder if UK will go 19-4 against muzzuruh, like KU has over the last 23 games. BTW, nice (read typical) game against 10-10 OSU last night.

Did the SEC know what a mediocrity they were getting or did they just not care?

kcguy
kcguy

@RManFlint Out in the first round? You mean like KU did when they lost to Bradley, and Bucknell? Man, playing those juggernauts must have really put you in an elite category where you can freely talk trash on MU. Why don't you worry less about the Tigers leaving for the SEC next year and more about the beating the Tigers this year.... All trash talk aside, the KU-MU rivalry will be missed for sure and I wish you guys would just play us, but I understand that you guys like to cry over spilt milk. Have fun crying about what you don't have. You've already been replaced with a different KU (Kentucky).

RManFlint
RManFlint

A B12 tourney title and an Elite Eight all in the same year! Well, shut your mouth, UK!

RManFlint
RManFlint

I thought you were going to the B10. You know- your academid peer and all.

RManFlint
RManFlint

You do suck. The only men's B12 championship you can claim is one basketball tournament.

MUTGR
MUTGR

@RManFlint Well, there was the year we won the big 12 tournament in those last six and the elite eight appearance. An objective observer would not count on Missouri losing on the first day on a regular basis in the SEC tournament. It's funny you are so obsessed with Mizzou - we suck so bad you can't stop spending time writing about us. Enjoy those road trips to WVU. The big whatever is morphing into conference USA. Better hope big brother Texas doesn't thrown in the towel. Mountain west here you come.

RManFlint
RManFlint

You're not in the SEC yet. I'll be happy to help you pack up the B12 trophies for the move.

Seriously, muzzuruh is the fat girl who puts out on the first date and everyone thinks has a rich daddy. That's why the SEC invited you and the B10 dumped you.

The SEC didn't care that you were a trailer slut lifting her skirt at the B10 for a decade. The SEC thinks you have a rich daddy. Wait until they see the ratings.

MU Chris
MU Chris

@RManFlint Wow. Do you spend ALL your free time responding to anything that involves Mizzou anywhere on any board? Again, this is a S-E-C board. No one cares about a beaker's thoughts. You're irrelevant. Can't you understand that?

And the Big 12 is living on borrowed time.....

RManFlint
RManFlint

The B12 is a power conference and I expect muzzuruh to have as much success winning championships in the SEC as it had in the B12, i.e., very little. I'll bet you didn't know you're tied with KSU for fewest B12 championships. Don't worry- I won't tell the SEC what a weak sister they got.

MU Chris
MU Chris

@RManFlint Awww, the hurt little beaker cause his little uni isn't being considered by the power conferences of the future! Mizzou is doing just fine. Why don't you just worry about what is going on in your own conference? This obsession of yours is really comical. This is a SEC board. What are you doing here?

RManFlint
RManFlint

@Fayettechill14@MissouriGuy

Do you know anything about basketball? muzzuruh has never been to a Final Four. As a matter of fact, it's second to BYU for most tourney appearances without a FF. Geez.

rob
rob

@Fayettechill14@MissouriGuy Oh, you're wrong. Mizzou has been to a final four before. They were a #1 seed at the 1994 final four, even though Arkansas trounced them 120-68 earlier that year. They lost to Duke, who Arkansas beat to win the NCAAT.

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