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Friday, July 1, 2011
Seattle a conference tourney destination?

By Diamond Leung

Today was a big day for the Pac-12 with the official additions of Colorado and Utah to the conference. It was the culmination of a lot of work put in by commissioner Larry Scott to change the face of the league. Everything from its membership and television deal to its logo and website is now different.

The next step? Figuring out what to do about the Pac-12 tournament, which has lacked buzz in recent years while being held at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Scott told the San Jose Mercury News that eight to 10 cities have expressed interest in bidding to host the 2013 tournament and that he isn't committed to any model at this time.

That could mean the end of the tournament in Los Angeles, the use of rotating sites or even a neutral city like Las Vegas, which currently hosts three conference tournaments for the Mountain West Conference, WAC and WCC.

A new city that's emerging as a viable possibility is Seattle, and according to the Seattle Times, the city will submit a proposal to host the Pac-12 tournament at KeyArena.
"We're excited about the opportunity to bring a tournament that could have a great impact not only just for the Seattle Center and KeyArena, but also the surrounding community," Marc Avery Jones, Director of Marketing and Business Development at the Seattle Center.

KeyArena is the home of the Seattle University men's basketball team and Gonzaga's annual Battle in Seattle.

KeyArena offers an attractive NBA-level arena like Staples and also a local fan base that wants to watch top-level basketball in the city. It's a desirable destination. When it was announced that Seattle University would join the WAC in 2012-13, commissioner Karl Benson immediately made it known he would consider KeyArena as a potential site for the WAC tournament as well.

So maybe Seattle after losing its NBA team can soon offer some basketball action aside from the Washington Huskies, who would love the tournament to move there. The conference tournament possibilities are still in the formulation stage, but they are ideas worthy of serious consideration.