SEC awards basketball tournament to Nashville

The SEC decided it really likes Nashville. Here is the official release:

Southeastern Conference Basketball Tournament Returns To Nashville
BIRMINGHAM – The Southeastern Conference has entered into a multi-year agreement with the Nashville Sports Council to play its men’s basketball tournament at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., SEC Commissioner Mike Slive announced Friday. With today’s announcement the Music City will serve as host to the annual event four times in the coming decade, adding 2015, 2016 and 2019 to an already agreed upon 2013 tournament.

“We are excited about continuing our relationship with the city of Nashville,” Slive said. “Nashville provides SEC teams and fans a great postseason experience. This past year’s tournament at Bridgestone Arena was one of the most exciting in recent memory.”

“We are thrilled that Music City will continue its partnership with the SEC as host for the men’s tournament,” Nashville Sports Council president & CEO Scott Ramsey said. “As we experienced this year, the Bridgestone Arena and downtown campus provides an exciting and electric atmosphere for players, fans and media. We are appreciative of the confidence the SEC has in Nashville as a host city and look forward to welcoming everyone back to Nashville on a regular basis over the next decade.”

“The SEC Tournament back in March energized our entire downtown,” Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said. “Our hotels, our restaurants, the entertainment district on Lower Broad all benefited from the thousands of visitors that the tournament drew. It is tremendous that the SEC has decided to return to Music City four more times in the coming years. Downtown is only going to get better, especially with the opening of our new downtown convention center campus in 2013. The tournaments are sure to be a great experience for the fans and a great win for our tourism industry.”

Bridgestone Arena opened in 1996 and has hosted the SEC Basketball Tournament three times (2001, 2006 and 2010). The facility is Nashville’s No. 1 venue for large-scale musical productions, as well as one of the nation’s most highly acclaimed entertainment and sports venues. The 2010 SEC Tournament at the arena drew a total of 191,852 fans for an average of 17,441 per game.

Future SEC Tournament Sites
2011 Atlanta, Ga. (Georgia Dome)
2012 New Orleans, La. (New Orleans Arena)
2013 Nashville, Tenn. (Bridgestone Arena)
2014 Atlanta, Ga. (Georgia Dome)
2015 Nashville, Tenn. (Bridgestone Arena)
2016 Nashville, Tenn. (Bridgestone Arena)
2017 TBD
2018 TBD
2019 Nashville, Tenn. (Bridgestone Arena)