Big 12 works to get fans into stands quicker with new express lanes

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Big 12 Championship is officially underway at Sprint Center Wednesday night, as college basketball fans pour into the metro, and managers at Sprint Center have collaborated with the Big 12 Conference to get fans in the stands more efficiently.

For the first time, the Sprint Center is opening express lines, which are meant for fans that aren't carrying bags into the arena.

For those who don't have bags, it's as simple as emptying pockets, and a swipe of the metal detecting wand.

Vice President of the Sprint Center, Shani Tate Ross said she anticipates as many as 120,000 ticket holders to pass through the metal detectors during championship week, and the express lines are meant to move them more quickly.

"We're just encouraging people to pack lightly and be more efficient through the search process," Ross said.

Fans attending Wednesday night's tournament games seemed to enjoy the pace, including Kansas State fan Jacob Moege.

"It was great. It was nice and quick," Moege said. "It's definitely quicker to get through than when they're checking everything. You're waiting in line a little bit. It's been great."

"We heard that as a challenge in previous years," Ross said. "We came up with this solution to try to expedite people into the building."

Ross said in previous editions of this tournament, arena managers noticed fans waited until the last minute to visit the arena gates, and it really clogged up the works.

"People will still go through metal detectors," Ross said. "They'll still have bag searches and bag checks."

Arena managers remind fans who are carrying bags of any kind -- including purses and diaper bags -- they will have to go through the traditional bag searches. However,  the new method could make the wait a little shorter.

Sprint Center gates will open 90 minutes before each session of the tournament.