NASHVILLE, Tn. (October 15, 2013) Nashville Sports Council announced a historic deal with the Southeastern Conference to make Nashville and the Bridgestone Arena the site for twelve consecutive SEC Basketball Championships. The SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament will be hosted nine times (2015-2017, 2019-2021, 2023-2025) and the SEC Women’s Tournament will be hosted three times (2018, 2022, 2026).
"The entire Nashville community is honored to be named as the host city for the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament and have the opportunity to continue to host the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament during the next 12 years,” said Scott Ramsey, President & CEO, Nashville Sports Council. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with the SEC and ESPN to create a showcase event for SEC basketball teams, coaches and fans."
In May, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive announced that the league’s athletic directors had voted unanimously to explore a primary site for the men’s basketball tournament.
“Nashville has long been a valued partner of the Southeastern Conference and we are pleased to establish this long-term agreement that will benefit our men’s and women’s basketball tournaments,” Slive said. “Nashville, as a proven host, provides SEC teams and fans with a wonderful experience.”
“We couldn’t be more excited to make Nashville and Bridgestone Arena the home of Southeastern Conference basketball for years to come,” Nashville Predators/Bridgestone Arena President and COO Sean Henry said. “We have been able to build a tremendous partnership with the SEC through unwavering support from the Nashville Sports Council, Metro and basketball fans throughout the United States, and we look forward to making our partnership even stronger during the 12 tournament run hosted by Bridgestone Arena. We have an ultimate goal to make Bridgestone Arena the No. 1 entertainment venue in the country, and being selected by the SEC to host its tournaments is just another milestone towards achieving that goal.”
The Nashville Sports Council has hosted an SEC Basketball Championship at the Bridgestone Arena nine times in its history. The men’s tournament was played in Nashville in 2001, 2006, 2010 and 2013, with the women playing in 2002, 2004, 2008, 2011 and 2012.
“Nashville is proud to be selected as the primary site of SEC basketball,” Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said. “Whenever the tournament is in town, our entire downtown is energized. Our hotels, restaurants and the honkytonks on Lower Broadway all benefit from the thousands of visitors that the tournament draws, and tournament visitors benefit from the wonderful food, music and hospitality Nashville has to offer. The tournaments are going to be a great experience for the fans and a great win for our tourism industry.”
Through the Nashville Sports Council’s Scorecard Analysis, the men’s tournaments hosted in Nashville have produced $56 million in direct economic impact and drawn nearly 750,000 attendees. The women’s tournaments hosted in Nashville have produced $35 million in direct economic impact and attracted over 200,000 attendees. The tournaments will also help bolster Nashville’s image. All games of the each tournament will be nationally televised through the SEC Network, ESPN, or ABC.