Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott made official Tuesday what had been rumored for several days, announcing that the Pac-12 men's basketball tournament will be held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas starting in 2013.
Speaking from Las Vegas on a conference call with reporters, Scott said that the tournament will stay in the city for at least the next three years, running through 2015. The tournament had been plagued by poor attendance in recent years at the Staples Center, where it has taken place every year since 2002.
"This was a pretty extensive process. It took us about 10 months to get through because there was a lot of interest," Scott said. "It was pretty clear there was a lot of excitement and energy from the fan base about going to an event in Las Vegas."
It will be the first time MGM Grand has hosted a basketball event in the Garden Arena, which can seat up to 16,800 people. Scott said that the reputation the hotel and arena have for hosting big-time sports and entertainment events was a selling point.
"There's never been a basketball event on the Strip," Scott said. "We're not afraid to be ground breakers and do things first."
Scott also said he spoke with commissioners of the West Coast, Mountain West and Western Athletic conferences to review how their conference tournaments do in Las Vegas and received "glowing reports" from each on their experiences. The WCC and WAC hold their tournaments at Orleans Arena, the Mountain West at UNLV's Thomas and Mack Center.