Mountain West Basketball Championships to Remain at the Thomas & Mack Center

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Mountain West has announced that the Thomas & Mack Center will continue to serve as the location for its men's and women's basketball championships through 2019.

The league's Board of Directors approved a recommendation from an ad hoc committee made up of three athletic directors and three men's basketball coaches, which was endorsed by the full directors of athletics group, to return to the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas for the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Mountain West Men's and Women's Basketball Championships.

"Mountain West fans have made it clear they prefer Las Vegas as the site for our basketball championships," said Commissioner Craig Thompson. "That part of the decision was never in question. We did, however, have multiple venue options to consider and the membership engaged in the most thorough review process the league has ever executed for a basketball championship site. At the end of the day, that analysis brought us back to the newly-renovated Thomas & Mack Center. The Mountain West has a great history at the Thomas & Mack and we look forward to continuing that success for another three years."

The Thomas & Mack Center hosts several world-class events each year, including the National Finals Rodeo, as well as concerts and boxing matches. The venue, which has been home to the Las Vegas NBA Summer League since 2004, has also played host to the ESPY and MTV Music Awards.

"Since the evolution of the Mountain West Conference in 1999, Las Vegas has been its home for championships," said Pat Christenson, president of Las Vegas Events. "During that time, the MW Basketball Championships have averaged a total attendance of 65,842 annually and paved the way for Las Vegas to become a leading destination for basketball, both in the spring and summer periods. The MW Basketball Championships have been one of our longest-tenured events in Las Vegas, which has also led to the growth of the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl that has featured teams from the MW. We look forward to continuing our partnership through 2019 and beyond."

The Thomas & Mack Center just received a $72.5 million facelift that took 18 months to complete. Highlights of the renovation include new flooring on the concourse, all new seating in the arena, a new sound system and enhancements to concessions, hospitality rooms and bathrooms.

"We are very excited to announce this extension of the Mountain West Conference Basketball Championships," said TMC Executive Director Mike Newcomb. "Over the years we have developed a great relationship with the Mountain West Conference. Commissioner Thompson and his entire staff are some of the best in the country and what we have is a true partnership. We are very happy to have the opportunity to continue to host one of the marquee conference basketball championships in the nation."

The Mountain West Board of Directors also approved a recommendation from its Competition, Ethics and Sportsmanship Committee to change the participation in the MW Basketball Championships to the top eight men's and women's teams, respectively, starting in 2017.

"The decision by the Board to feature the top eight men's and women's teams in the MW Basketball Championships is consistent with a broader Mountain West Conference initiative emphasizing performance-based competitive excellence," said Thompson. "Similar approaches are being implemented in other MW championships based upon the best interests of those particular sports. This most recent action will increase the importance of our regular-season basketball competition and is a vehicle to enhance the overall success of our basketball enterprise."

About the Mountain West:
From its inception in 1999, the Mountain West has been committed to excellence in intercollegiate athletics, while promoting the academic missions of its member institutions. Progressive in its approach, the Mountain West continues to cultivate opportunities for student-athletes to compete at the highest level, while fostering academic achievement and sportsmanship. Now in its 17th year, the MW has been assertive in its involvement with the NCAA governance structure and has taken a leadership role in the overall administration of intercollegiate athletics. The Mountain West membership is comprised of 11 all-sport members: the United States Air Force Academy, Boise State University, Colorado State University, Fresno State, University of Nevada, University of New Mexico, San Diego State University, San José State University, UNLV, Utah State University and University of Wyoming. In addition, the University of Hawai‘i and Colorado College participate in the Mountain West as single-sport members in football and women's soccer, respectively.

About Las Vegas Events:
Las Vegas Events is a private, not-for-profit organization that serves as the exclusive major special events agency for the city. Founded in 1983, LVE is funded by hotel room tax. Through its Signature Event initiative, LVE has created a model to integrate all elements of special events and formally improve communication between event producers and Las Vegas' hotel properties and sponsors. Since 1991, Las Vegas Events has produced, presented or supported more than 650 events and driven more than 7.4 million visitors to Southern Nevada.