The Summit League and Sioux Falls Sports Authority have exercised the option years of their long-term agreement that will keep The Summit League Basketball Championships in Sioux Falls through 2022. The five-year option from 2018-2022 was part of the original contract announced in Oct. 2012.
“Sioux Falls not only has been a tremendous host of The Summit League Basketball Championships, it has become a home,” said Summit League Commissioner Tom Douple. “It is truly remarkable to continually see the bar raised and have attendance records broken each year. This tournament is synonymous with Sioux Falls thanks to the support of our fans, many of whom plan their calendars around the event. The Summit League Basketball Tournament has been a tremendous success story and the league is excited about furthering the long-term growth of this premier event.”
Since 2009, The Summit League Basketball Championships have been played before record crowds in Sioux Falls, making the city the longest-running continuous host of the event. The Sioux Falls Arena was home to The Summit League Basketball Championships from 2009-14 and the event began a new era in 2015 by moving into the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.
“In 2009, we were honored to have the privilege to host the first Summit League Basketball Championships in Sioux Falls,” said Sioux Falls Sports Authority Executive Director Wes Hall. “Now seven years later, as we enter into our new agreement to continue as the host through 2022, we are still honored to have the privilege of hosting one of the most successful tournaments in the country. This extension shows the faith The Summit League has in us to host a great tournament and we look forward to putting on a great show for many years to come.”
Including a total attendance of 60,007, which smashed the previous mark by an astounding 33 percent, the 2015 Summit League Basketball Championships set 11 all-time men’s and women’s attendance records. The men’s semifinal round drew 10,153 spectators, the highest total for any tournament session in league history. The women’s tournament posted the nation’s top single-session attendance figure (8,171 for the first quarterfinal) and the second-best championship game (6,926) and tournament average (6,099) marks in 2015.
The Summit League’s top five men’s/women’s combined total tournament, women’s tournament and women’s championship game attendance marks along with the top two men’s tournament figures have been recorded in Sioux Falls.
By the end of the current agreement, Sioux Falls will have hosted 14 consecutive Summit League Basketball Championships from 2009-2022. That stretch will extend league records for both consecutive and total tournaments hosted (14) by more than double the previous mark of five. By 2022, the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center (eight) and Sioux Falls Arena (six) venues will have each eclipsed the previous single-site hosting record.
This year’s “March to the Summit” reaches its pinnacle at The Summit League Basketball Championships, March 5-8 at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center. The Summit League and Sioux Falls Sports Authority will host the 2016 NCAA Women’s Basketball Sioux Falls Regional, March 25 & 27 at the same venue.