Madison’s place as host to the WIAA state basketball tournaments has outlasted The Great Depression, World War II and the disco era, but it might not survive growing pressure to reserve the Kohl Center for University of Wisconsin sports during March.
WIAA executive director Dave Anderson said Friday the state’s governing body for high school sports is actively seeking a new home for its state boys and girls basketball tournaments, as early as 2012-13.
Anderson told the WIAA Board of Control that PMI Entertainment Group, which represents the Resch Center in Green Bay, has made an official offer to host the tournaments beginning in 2014. He said the WIAA also has inquired about the availability of the U.S. Cellular Arena in Milwaukee to host the state tournaments for the two sports that are the WIAA’s biggest moneymakers.
It’s all but a given that beginning in 2014 both tournaments will need a new home.
“We have reached out to other venues, knowing that we’re certainly going to need a home for our tournaments by 2014,” said Anderson, whose association is under contract with UW to hold the state basketball tournaments on the Madison campus through 2013 but has been told that conflicts could force both tournaments to be moved from the Kohl Center.
“It’s a given. Whether that home is a facility in Madison, a facility in Milwaukee or a facility in Green Bay. We’re limited.”
So just what are the conflicts that are causing the WIAA to look at alternative sites? One is the new Big Ten Hockey conference.
The long-term conflicts include the dynamics of the Big Ten men’s hockey conference, which debuts during the 2013-14 season.
The conference announced in June it will use a two-week postseason format that begins with the four lowest seeds meeting in a best-of-three series at the home of the highest seed. The winners will advance to face the top two seeds at the home of the No. 1 seed the next week.
The economic benefits in Green Bay could be huge if the tournaments were hosted here.
The 12 WIAA state tournaments held on the UW campus have an estimated economic impact of $10 million on the city of Madison and Dane County, according to Greater Madison Visitor and Convention Bureau figures. Boys and girls basketball, which bring in more than $3 million of the WIAA’s $6 million in annual revenue, account for most of that.
Were you disappointed when the WIAA moved the boys sectional tournaments from Green Bay? If so start letting them know that you want the state tournaments to be held here.