ST. LOUIS — The State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament will remain in St. Louis through at least 2020, MVC Commissioner Doug Elgin has announced. The existing agreement with the building is through 2018 with a two-year option, which the league is exercising today.
Notably, the MVC will conduct its 30th-straight men’s basketball tournament — known as Arch Madness — in St. Louis in 2020, having staged the event in Kiel Auditorium (1991), the Saint Louis Arena (1992-94) and Scottrade Center (1995-present).
“We’re elated to have had the opportunity to keep our basketball tournament here for such a long run,” said Commissioner Doug Elgin. “We owe the St. Louis Blues ownership a great debt by carving five consecutive dates out of the heart of the NHL schedule every March. Our State Farm MVC Tournament has established very deep roots in St. Louis, and this would never have been possible without the construction of Scottrade Center. And that has paid big dividends for the regional economy – our tournament has been a catalyst in providing the opportunity for The Valley and its local partners to make St. Louis a regular stop on the NCAA Tournament trail.“
“Scottrade Center has been the home for our men’s basketball tournament since 1995, and we look forward to an enhanced experience for our fans at the building in 2018,” said Jack R. Watkins, MVC Associate Commissioner and Arch Madness Tournament Director. “A new state-of-the-art center-hung scoreboard plus an updated sound system and lighting within the bowl are just some of the cornerstone improvements.
“This 2020 vision – not only for the 30th chapter of Arch Madness but our NCAA host opportunity in the same year – cannot be emphasized enough. With new buildings opening in the Midwest and the NCAA returning to other cities in the central corridor, we are grateful for the commitment shown to keep St. Louis at the forefront as a postseason college basketball site.”
Only the Big East Conference has had a longer, continuously-running men’s basketball event at the same neutral site than has the Missouri Valley with its Arch Madness, which has built a strong tradition with the men’s basketball championship in St. Louis. The Big East has played its tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York City every year since 1981 (38th consecutive year in 2018).
Before moving to the new American Airlines Center in Dallas for the 2003 tournament, the Big 12/Big 8 event had been staged at Kemper Arena in Kansas City since 1977 prior to moving to the Texas site (a string of 26-straight in Kansas City). The Missouri Valley Conference celebrated its 27th year in St. Louis during the 2017 tournament, surpassing that streak.
A total of 1,354,898 fans have attended the MVC Tournament in its 27-year history in St. Louis. The 2017 State Farm MVC Tournament Championship game attendance of 11,744 was the eighth-best in the 27 years in St. Louis. The league holds the Scottrade Center record for a basketball game (22,612 for the semifinals and final in 2007). Notably, in the past 15 seasons (15 State Farm MVC Tournaments since 2003), 11 teams, including five in the past four seasons, have entered the State Farm MVC Tournament ranked in the Top 25.
In addition, the city of St. Louis has staged five NCAA basketball events at Scottrade Center, including Women’s Final Fours (2001, 2009) and three preliminary men’s events (1998, 2014, 2016). The NCAA is back again in 2020, as the MVC and the city will host a 1st/2nd Round in the building on March 19 and 21.