City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

November 14, 2012
Sacramento denied bid for NCAA basketball tournament games

Once again, Sacramento has been passed over by the NCAA.

The city and Sleep Train Arena are not on the list of venues hosting NCAA men's basketball tournament games in 2014 or 2015. That list was released earlier this week.

Sacramento sports officials were surprised earlier this year when the NCAA asked them to apply to host tournament games after being denied a bid in 2009. An NCAA official told The Bee in September that Sacramento and its arena met the standards for host venues, including having an arena seating at least 12,000, a major airport and hotels.

John McCasey, the executive director of the city's sports commission, said he had not spoken to the NCAA about the decision this year and "unless I know what they're thinking was, I don't know what to say."

"Any time we try to bid on something and don't get it, it's disappointing," he said.

An NCAA spokesman could not be reached for comment.

"It's no surprise that Sacramento has once again missed the cut to host the NCAA tournament and bring more jobs and revenue to our community," Mayor Kevin Johnson said in a statement. "It's the latest reminder of how crucial a new entertainment and sports complex is to reaching our full economic potential as a region, and I remain as committed as ever to making that goal a reality."

While many of the host arenas and cities chosen for tournament games are larger than Sacramento, some are not. The Sacramento region has a population of about 2.5 million and Sleep Train Arena seats 17,317 for basketball.

Spokane, Wash., with a metro population of 609,000, won a bid for 2014. Games will be played in the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, with a seating capacity of 12,210.

Also on the list is the Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla., population 1.3 million. The facility seats 15,000. The arena at the University of Dayton (Ohio) will also host games.

KeyArena - the former home of the Seattle SuperSonics - was chosen to host games. The Sonics left Seattle in 2008 in part because KeyArena was deemed to be an unworthy NBA venue.

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About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

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