Mountain West Basketball Championships to Remain in Las Vegas

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Mountain West has announced that Las Vegas will continue to serve as the location for its men’s and women’s basketball championships through 2016.

The league’s Board of Directors approved a three-year deal with Las Vegas Events to continue holding the MW Basketball Championships at the Thomas & Mack Center. Including the upcoming 2013 Reese’s Mountain West Basketball Championships, the Thomas & Mack Center has served as the host site for the league’s premier event a total of 11 years (2000-03 and 2007-present).

“The Mountain West Basketball Championships are a signature event that highlights our student-athletes, coaches and institutions,” said MW Commissioner Craig Thompson. “Las Vegas is a destination city, and in recent years has become a hotbed for NCAA basketball. Extensive research has proven that MW fans prefer this location over any other, and our partnership with Las Vegas Events and the Thomas & Mack Center enables us to put on a first-class event, filled with the excitement and competitive spirit that defines Mountain West basketball.”

Over its previous 10 years in Las Vegas, the Mountain West Basketball Championships has enjoyed steady growth, with total overall attendance rising from 46,141 at the inaugural event in 2000 to a record-setting figure of 82,787 in 2011. Over the last three years, average attendance at the men’s championship has exceeded 12,000, including sellouts of 18,500 for the 2010 semifinals and 2011 semifinals and championship. During that same span, four women’s sessions have exceeded an average attendance of 5,000.

“The Mountain West Basketball Championships and Las Vegas have proven to be a winning combination for more than 10 years,” said Pat Christenson, president of Las Vegas Events. “Our organization is committed to showcasing Las Vegas through world-class events, and this tournament has proven to be a great attraction for basketball fans throughout the country. Las Vegas has been a partner of the Mountain West since its inception, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with this premier conference for many years to come.”

The Thomas & Mack Center hosts several world-class events each year, including the National Finals Rodeo, as well as concerts and boxing matches. The venue has also played host to the ESPY and MTV Music Awards, and the 2007 NBA All-Star Game.

“We are extremely happy to announce this extension of the MW Basketball Championships at the Thomas & Mack Center,” said TMC Executive Director Mike Newcomb. “The Mountain West is and will continue to be a great partner of the facility and we look forward to hosting one of the most exciting college basketball tournaments in the country for years to come.”

About the Mountain West:
From its inception in 1999, the Mountain West has been committed to excellence in intercollegiate athletics, while promoting the academic missions of its member institutions. Progressive in its approach, the Mountain West continues to cultivate opportunities for student-athletes to compete at the highest level, while fostering academic achievement and sportsmanship. Currently, the Mountain West is comprised of 10 Division I institutions: The United States Air Force Academy, Boise State University, Colorado State University, Fresno State, University of Hawai‘i (football only), University of Nevada, University of New Mexico, San Diego State University, UNLV, and the University of Wyoming. San Jose State University and Utah State University will join the Mountain West effective July 1, 2013.

About Las Vegas Events:
Las Vegas Events is a private, not-for-profit organization that serves as the exclusive major special events agency for the city. Founded in 1983, LVE is funded by hotel room tax. Through its Signature Event initiative, LVE has created a model to integrate all elements of special events and formally improve communication between event producers and Las Vegas’ hotel properties and sponsors. Since 1991, Las Vegas Events has produced, presented or supported more than 600 events.