KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Big 12 Conference is celebrating a different type of March Madness.
The Big 12 announced last week’s 2023 Phillips 66 Men’s Basketball Championship in Kansas City made more money that any other tournament in conference history.
Increased attendance at the tournament fueled the increase in revenue.
According to the Big 12, more than 90,000 fans attended the men’s tournament. That equals an average of more than 18,000 fans a session. The conference says that is a 13% increase over last season.
The Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship also experienced increased interest, drawing nearly 25% more fans than it did in 2022.
“This year’s Basketball Championships saw significant growth over previous years, and I am thrilled with the results,” Brett Yormark, Big 12 Commissioner, said. “As we continue to reimagine our Conference Championships, our number one priority will always be to create value and drive revenue for our member institutions.”
One of the changes to the men’s games turned out to be a huge hit with fans.
New premium courtside seats sold out before tickets went on sale for the general public. There is already a wait list for courtside tickets for the 2024 men’s tournament, according to the conference.
The women’s tournament will also feature courtside seating when it moves to T-Mobile Center in 2024.
Fans also checked out new Big 12 Eats dishes. The conference said more than 5,200 of the new menu items were sold during the men’s tournament. The top three most popular dishes according to the Big 12 are:
- Big Jay’s Loaded Mac & Cheese
- Longhorn Quesadilla
- TCU Loaded Tots
The Big 12 said it’s after party featuring DJ Diesel was also a huge hit with nearly 7,000 fans attending the event.
In total, the Kansas City Sports Commission estimates the economic impact of the Big 12 Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships is about $21 million over the five-day period.