The Pac-12 Conference has extended its partnership with Force 10 Sports Management, LLC, the Seattle Sports Commission, and Seattle Center through 2019 and will continue hosting the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament at KeyArena for the next three years, the Conference announced Friday.
The original agreement that brought the Pac-12 Tournament to Seattle was signed in 2012 and facilitated the 2013, 2014 and 2015 tournaments. Last year, an extension was signed to bring the 2016 tournament to Seattle, and now the Pac-12 has committed to bringing the event back to Seattle for the next three years.
The tournaments held at KeyArena to date have drawn great attendance, provided exciting atmospheres, and created unprecedented national exposure for Pac-12 student-athletes. The attendance totals at the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Pac-12 Tournaments in Seattle were three of the four highest attendance marks in the 14-year history of the tournament.
“The city of Seattle has proven to be a great home for our premiere women’s championship,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “Our student-athletes, member institutions, and fans have enjoyed a tremendous atmosphere inside KeyArena and we are thrilled to continue to work with partners who share our commitment to and passion for women’s sports.”
This week’s tournament has already provided the great women’s sports fans of Seattle with close games, exciting action, thrilling upsets and record-breaking performances, and there is more of that in store for this weekend’s games. Tenth-seeded California won two upsets to earn their place in the semifinals, defeating seventh-seeded Utah in just the second overtime game in tournament history on Thursday and then defeating second-seeded Arizona State on Friday.
The other semifinal matchup features two standout teams from the Pacific Northwest in Washington and No. 8 Oregon State. In last night’s quarterfinal win over No. 11 Stanford, Washington junior Kelsey Plum scored 29 points, becoming Washington’s all-time leading scorer.
The Pac-12 is one of the strongest women’s basketball leagues in the nation, currently boasting the highest RPI in the country and four teams ranked in the top-15 nationally. The Conference is excited to continue bringing high-level college basketball to Seattle sports fans.
“We’re thrilled to continue the partnership with the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament,” said Managing Partner of Force 10 Sports Management Lisa Brummel. “Over the last four years, this tournament has provided a first-class experience for the student-athletes and coaching staff, the fans and the community. We are passionate about making Seattle the hub for women’s sports at all levels.”
The popularity of women’s basketball in the Seattle market, the 12th largest in the nation, can be seen with the success of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm. The team is consistently among the leaders in attendance in the WNBA, averaging 7,800 fans throughout the franchise’s 17-year history. The Storm has been recognized in the WNBA’s annual General Manager survey as the ‘Best Home Court Advantage in the WNBA’ for six-straight seasons, a nod to the dedicated Seattle women’s basketball fans.
“Continuing our partnership with Force 10 Sports Management and the Pac-12 to keep the women’s basketball championship in Seattle was a top priority,” said Seattle Sports Commission Executive Director Ralph Morton. “To host the tournament for the Conference of Champions is fantastic for our community. It allows us to inspire the next generation of basketball stars through exposure to incredible role models while bringing significant economic impact to our region before peak tourism season. We could not be more thrilled to see the tournament stay in the Emerald City through 2019.”
The Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament is being held for the 15th time this week. The tournament made its debut in 2002 and was held at the University of Oregon’s campus in Eugene, Ore. The event spent four years in Los Angeles before moving to Seattle in 2013.
“We look forward to building on the success the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament has enjoyed at KeyArena since 2013,” said Seattle Center Director Robert Nellams. “This event has been a great chance to welcome fans and teams from all over the region to our wonderful city.”
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