To Fans, Friends and Supporters of the Southeastern Conference:
October means we are locked in another hotly-contested Southeastern Conference football season, and this year is as competitive as any in recent memory. Last week the league set a record by becoming the first conference ever to place eight teams in the top 25. And then, in a show of the league’s overall strength, five of those ranked teams fell to fellow SEC members over the weekend. It all bodes well for a very exciting second half of the 2013 SEC schedule.
But last week we paused during football season for a very important announcement about the future of basketball in the SEC. We announced that for 12 straight years beginning in 2015 a Southeastern Conference basketball tournament will be played in Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.
Nine times between 2015 and 2026, the men’s basketball tournament will be contested in Nashville and three times the women’s tournament will be played there. With this announcement, we have designated Nashville as the primary site for the men’s basketball tournament for the foreseeable future.
This announcement is significant for a number of reasons, but primarily it is an important development for the fans of basketball in the SEC. It gives them a place to call home in the postseason, a place to set their sights and to make their plans on an annual basis to see the early days of March Madness each and every year.
Similar to what Atlanta has meant for the SEC Football Championship Game and what Hoover has meant for the SEC Baseball Tournament, we believe Nashville will become an annual destination for thousands of SEC basketball fans.
SEC fans will come to know their preferred hotels, develop their favorite restaurants and enjoy some of the nation’s best entertainment venues on the streets of the Music City.
The Nashville Sports Council, the City of Nashville and the management of Bridgestone Arena and the Nashville Predators have become great partners with the SEC and are sure to provide an experience for SEC fans that will improve each year.
The Music City will also provide a great experience for the student-athletes at our 14 institutions. Bridgestone Arena is a tremendous venue for basketball and they will enjoy the hospitality of one of America’s great cities.
I hope you will plan to join us this year in Atlanta for the SEC men’s basketball tournament and in Duluth for the women’s tournament, and that you will make your plans to spend many future years in Nashville and other great locations where our tournaments will be played.
Thank you for your support of the Southeastern Conference and its 6,500 student-athletes who strive for excellence in competition, in the classroom and in the community each and every day.
Commissioner, Southeastern Conference