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Thursday, December 15, 2011
Pac-12 leaning toward Vegas tournament?

By Diamond Leung

In March, the Pac-12 will hold its conference tournament for what could be the final time at Los Angeles' Staples Center, where empty seats have become the norm while commissioner Larry Scott is rethinking the event model going forward.

Could the next site of the tournament be the MGM Grand in Las Vegas? That's a definite possibility, Bloomberg Businessweek reports after a conversation with Scott.
"An empty stadium looks awful on TV," he says. He has faced that problem with the conference's postseason basketball tournament, which has been played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles to less than packed houses; the conference is strongly considering moving the tournament to the MGM Grand (MGM) in Las Vegas. "People will travel to Las Vegas," Scott says.

Las Vegas is the current site of conference tournaments for the Mountain West, WAC and WCC. Adding the Pac-12 event to Sin City could help create a college baskeball fan's playground there in the weeks before the start of the NCAA tournament. For the Pac-12, it's a central location that, as Scott mentioned, could be more of a popular travel destination.

Salt Lake City and Seattle are the other cities that have publicly revealed their bids for the Pac-12 tournament, and Scott could very well look to big arenas rather than holding the event at rotating campus sites.

"I really want a strong collegiate atmosphere around the basketball tournament," Scott told ESPN.com in August. "I don't want it to feel overly corporate. I want it to be well-attended and well-supported and there to be great buzz around the event."