A new, massively nice convention center across the street on the south side of Bridgestone Arena with thousands of new hotel rooms being built to support it. Add another "win".
Now here’s a surprise from the SEC meetings in Destin — the league might soon slow down its rotation of host sites for the SEC men’s basketball tournament. Commissioner Mike Slive revealed the following on Tuesday evening:
“We talked with our athletic directors about future tournament sites. And the ADs voted unanimously to authorize the conference to explore a primary site for the men’s basketball tournament. You know, currently we’ve been rotating the tournament. We’ve been very successful with our permanent site in football in Atlanta. We’ve been very successful with our permanent site in Hoover (Alabama) in terms of baseball. So the ADs felt it was time for us to explore the possibility of a primary site for the men’s basketball tournament. So we will begin that exploration shortly.”
You might have noticed that Slive spoke of “permanent” sites for the league’s football and baseball championships while saying the conference office would explore a “primary” site for basketball. Possible meaning: The SEC will pick on home site for its tourney while still keeping its options open for an occasional change-of-pace site. Such a plan would allow the league to coax a massive bid from the “primary” city as well as some big-money splurges from “special occasion” host cities.
Between 1998 and 2016, Atlanta will have served as the host site for the tourney 10 different times. Nashville will have hosted six times (including this past season and 2015 and 2016). New Orleans (twice) and Tampa (once) are the only other cities that will have hosted the SEC Tournament during that 19-year run.
With Nashville hosting the event in 2010, 2013, 2015 and 2016, it appears that the Music City has become a league favorite. And why wouldn’t it? Nashville has first-rate nightlife and dining, a large arena build for professional sports, and plenty of hotels within walking distance of the Bridgestone Arena. Win, win and win.
While it’s possible the league could double-down in Atlanta or simply hand the tourney to the highest bidder, we’d put our money on Nashville becoming the “primary” site for the SEC men’s basketball tournament. As a matter of fact, when Slive was asked about Nashville specifically, he reported smiled and said, “It’s a good city.”