ARIZONA BASKETBALL

Arizona Wildcats already bearing down on Kansas City’s Big 12 Tournament with ad

Mar 13, 2024, 10:35 AM

Arizona Wildcat fans for one more time this week will claim the Pac-12 Tournament home, Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, as “McKale North.” But the school appears ready for a move to the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City a year before jumping conferences, as a promotional billboard has appeared there.

Call it “McKale Northeast?”

KWTX News 10 sports director Darby Brown on Wednesday captured an Arizona advertisement in downtown Kansas City that reads “GET READY TO BEAR DOWN.”

Big 12 keeping basketball tournaments in Kansas City through 2031

On Tuesday, Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark announced that the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will remain in Kansas City through 2031.

The men’s and women’s tournaments were scheduled to be played in Kansas City through 2027, so the extension amounts to four years. But it also comes as the league expands its footprint west with Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah replacing Oklahoma and Texas in the league, and that gave the Big 12 other hosting options such as Las Vegas and Phoenix.

The Big 12 will be holding its football media days in Las Vegas later this year.

“We are a national conference now. We’re in 10 states, four time zones,” Yormark said. “When it comes to men’s and women’s basketball, and women’s soccer, this needed to be our home. We’re going to football media day in Vegas, which we are excited about, and there will be other opportunities to move closer to that footprint, but we needed to be in Kansas City.”

Along with the basketball tournaments, Yormark announced that the Big 12 women’s soccer championship was moving to CPKC Stadium. The first stadium facility built for a women’s professional soccer club in the U.S. — in this case, the Kansas City Current of the National Women’s Soccer League — is scheduled to open Saturday when the Current plays Portland.

“It’s an amazing time to be in Kansas City, and it’s an amazing time to invest in Kansas City,” said Mayor Quinton Lucas, who has been supportive of an April ballot issue to renew a sales tax that would help fund renovations to Arrowhead Stadium, the home of the Super Bowl champion Chiefs, along with a new downtown ballpark for the Royals.

“The Big 12 Conference is part of Kansas City’s DNA. We all have stories about the Big 12, or if we’re old enough, the Big Eight here in Kansas City,” Lucas said. “We’re excited to continue to share the story in Kansas City.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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Arizona Wildcats already bearing down on Kansas City’s Big 12 Tournament with ad