The Pacific-12 Conference will call Las Vegas home for two weeks starting next year.
The women’s basketball tournament will be played in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in 2019 and at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in 2020. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott announced the new two-year deal Thursday during a news conference.
Scott also announced a one-year extension for the men’s tournament to stay at T-Mobile Arena through the 2020 season.
“We are very excited to make Las Vegas the home of the very best of Pac-12 men’s and women’s basketball,” Scott said in a statement. “The quality of our women’s basketball programs has driven increasing fan interest over the past several years, and we look forward to continuing to build upon this success in Las Vegas and to creating a true festival of Pac-12 basketball across our men’s and women’s events in March.”
After hosting the tournament in Seattle for the past six seasons, Scott said the Pac-12 women needed a new home with Seattle’s KeyArena slated for a major two-year renovation as the city makes a bid for an NHL team.
The Pac-12 will return to the MGM Grand, where the men played from 2013 to 2016 before moving to the bigger Strip venue last March. The women’s tournament will be played a week before the men hit the court.
In 2020, Mandalay Bay could be the home of the Pac-12 women’s tournament and the Las Vegas Aces, the WNBA franchise that left San Antonio last year.
The Mandalay Bay Events Center will undergo a $10 million renovation toward improving the arena’s scoreboard, seats, locker rooms and surfaces in preparation for the WNBA season, which includes 17 home games.