Could the MW basketball championship leave Las Vegas?

BOISE -- The Mountain West men's and women's basketball championships could be on the move in 2020.
 
According to conference commissioner Craig Thompson, one of the biggest topics of discussion at the recent Mountain West meetings was the future location of their postseason basketball tournaments.
 
"Back in 1999, the [Mountain West] was the only tournament in Las Vegas and it was huge," Thompson said. "It had grown phenomenally over the few years following. Then the WAC moved in, and the West Coast Conference moved in, and now the Pac-12 is in there."
 
Thompson also brought up the fact that Las Vegas has recently added an NHL team and in the coming years will welcome an NFL franchise to town as well.
 
All of that has Thompson questioning if the city is now too over-saturated for the Mountain West to thrive.
 
"Las Vegas is a great city. They've treated us phenomenally. We've played in 17 Las Vegas Bowls as a league. We've played 15 basketball championships there," Thompson explained. "But is it used up? Has it run its course? And should we look at other places?"
 
Those places the Mountain West could potentially consider including neutral sites in both Arizona and Colorado.
 
"We played three years in Denver at the Pepsi Center. That's always a possibility," Thompson said, "that building is in our neck of the woods."
 
"Phoenix always pops up," he continued, "but would 11 institutions travel to Phoenix with no home team here?"
 
If that answer to that is no, that could mean moving the conference tournaments to the home court of another Mountain West team, much like the current situation for UNLV and the Thomas & Mack Center.
 
"Viejas Arena in San Diego is of interested. The Pit in Albuquerque is of interest," Thompson said.
 
"This is not a new conversation," he continued, "it's just being refreshed because we have two years left in Las Vegas and we have to figure out where we're going to play in 2020 and beyond.
 

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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