Three major tournaments converge next month in downtown Kansas City

Kansas City, Mo.—Kansas City’s love affair with college basketball couldn’t be more obvious than during the month of March, as the city prepares to host postseason play for three organizations:  the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA), the Big 12 Conference and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Tickets remain for all three events.  Kansas City rolls out the red carpet every March, hosting more college basketball games than anywhere else in the country. In 2015, the total comes to 58 teams and 54 games in just 14 days. Visit KC, Kansas City’s hospitality and tourism organization, estimates the combined economic impact of the championships to be more than $13.3 million. Highlights of each event follow. 

MIAA Men's and Women's Basketball Championships
March 5-8, Municipal Auditorium

  • This is the Championships’ 13th consecutive year in Kansas City, with an estimated attendance of 20,000 fans over the four-day stretch and a total economic impact of $1.8 million. 
  • A century old, the Kansas City-based MIAA is a NCAA Division II Conference made up of 14 institutions in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma. More than 80,000 area alumni attended these schools, six of which are within a two-hour drive to KC.
  • Sixteen teams (eight men’s and eight women’s) will vie for the conference’s two titles in a single-elimination, 14-game tournament format. 
  • Tickets are still available. All-session tickets are $65; single-session tickets are $20; available at Ticketmaster outlets or by calling 800-745-3000. Student/youth tickets ($5) will be available only at Municipal Auditorium box office during the event.
  • For more information, visit themiaa.com.   

Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship
March 11-14, Sprint Center

  • Kansas City hosts the Men’s Championship in 2015 for an unprecedented 14th year. This marks the seventh time Sprint Center will serve as the host venue. 
  • A limited number of tickets have been made available today, Tuesday, Feb. 17. See sprintcenter.com for more details. 
  • Slated to return to Kansas City through 2016, the estimated economic impact of the Men’s Championship is $9 million. 
  • The Big 12 Conference is comprised of 10 universities—Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech and West Virginia. The Big 12 is an NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics conference that encompasses five states with more than 38 million people within its geographic footprint.
  • The league’s 10 teams will compete in a single-elimination, nine-game format. The Big 12 has had nine teams ranked (or receiving votes) in the Associated Press Top 25 this season, the most of any conference.  
  • Games will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU. Click here for the complete schedule. 
  • Special events include the Big 12 GameDay fan experience on Grand Boulevard, spirit rallies inside the Power & Light District and Kansas City’s Big 12 Run. For more information, visit the Official Kansas City Fan Information Site at VisitKC.com/Big12Basketball

78th Annual Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship
March 18-24, Municipal Auditorium

  • As college basketball’s oldest national championship, the NAIA tournament returns to Municipal Auditorium for the 51st time in 2014 (1937-1943; 1945-1975; and 2002-present). 
  • Attracting nearly 40,000 fans over its six-day stretch, the anticipated economic impact of the NAIA tourney is $2.5 million. 
  • The NAIA is comprised of nearly 300 accredited small colleges and universities in North America.
  • The competition will host 32 teams in a 31-game, single-elimination format. The field of participants includes 17 automatic qualifiers, one host berth and 14 at-large bids. 
  • Tickets are still available. Single-game tickets start as low as $5 per person and all-tournament passes begin at $75. Purchase tickets at naiahoops.com or at the Municipal Auditorium box office. 
  • Special events include Scout Night (March 20), Youth Day (March 21) and Military Service/First Responder Night (March 23). Returning in 2015 are the NABC-NAIA Men’s Basketball All-Star Game, presented by US Bank, and the NABC-NAIA Men’s Basketball 3-Point and Slam Dunk Contests, presented by Rawlings. These events will take place on Saturday, March 21. For more information, visit naiahoops.com
  • The NAIA Women’s National Championship will be held March 18-24 at the Independence Events Center.

Fan Fests and Other Basketball Events
Basketball fans will have plenty to do Downtown between games. Here’s a look at major events happening during the time frame. 

  • March 11-14 – The Big 12 GameDay fan experience presented by Phillips 66 will be located just outside Sprint Center on Grand Boulevard. The free, interactive street festival features games, music, meet-and-greet opportunities and promotional giveaways. The schedule is as follows:
    • Wednesday, March 11: 3 to 7 p.m. 
    • Thursday, March 12: 2 to 7 p.m. 
    • Friday, March 13: noon to 7 p.m. 
    • Saturday, March 14: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • March 11-14 – The Miller Lite Basketball Fan Fest presented by Sports Radio 810 will feature a free, all-day party at the KC Live! Block in the Power & Light District. The party includes contests, live entertainment, team pep rallies, giveaways and basketball watch parties on a 250 square-foot, high-definition video screen. More info at powerandlightdistrict.com.
  • March 14 - Kansas City’s Big 12 Run will take place on Saturday, March 14, at 10 a.m.  Set in the heart of Big 12 Country, the 5K/12K course will wind around downtown Kansas City through the Power & Light District.  The overall male and female winners will receive free gas from Phillips 66 and be recognized at Championship final.  Strollers are welcome for the 5K portion of this family-friendly event. More info at kcbig12run.com.
  • March 11-14 - Kansas City’s Big 12 Campus ’Cue Off will pit contestants from around the league in a second annual showdown for barbecue bragging rights. Held at the corner of 13th & Grand, Campus ’Cue Off will feature four competition categories and teams representing each of the 10 universities. Come down and cheer on your school’s contestants as they battle to take home the grand prize. The competition area is open to the public at the following times: 
    • Wednesday, March 11: 4 to 6 p.m.
    • Thursday, March 12: 2 to 6 p.m.
    • Friday, March 13: noon to 6 p.m.
    • Saturday, 2 to 5 p.m. 
  • All month long – The College Basketball Experience (CBE) and National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame will host extended operational hours during the month of March. Show your Big 12 ticket at the CBE Box Office inside the Sprint Center lobby and save $2 on regular admission, March 11-14. For a complete schedule of extended hours, go to collegebasketballexperience.com. (This offer cannot be used with other available CBE discount offers for admission).  

About Visit KC
Visit KC is a non-profit organization whose mission is to ignite global passion for visiting Kansas City. Through marketing, sales and service of the convention and tourism industries, Visit KC supports a vital and growing component of the local economy—generating more than 45,000 jobs and $4.6 billion in economic impact annually. For more information about the organization or Kansas City, go to VisitKC.com.

Media Contacts

Robin Baer
Robin Baer (KC/Regional Media)
Visit KC
Derek Klaus
Derek Klaus (National Media)

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