KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Commissioner Brett Yormark spoke Tuesday morning at the Big 12 women’s basketball media day.
A big item of discussion was whether Kansas City will continue to host both the conference women’s and men’s basketball tournaments past the current contract, which goes through 2027.
“Kansas City has been a great home for the Big 12 basketball championships,” Yormark said. “Because of that, we are currently in discussions about an early extension to keep the Big 12 basketball championships right here in Kansas City at T-Mobile Arena through 2031.”
Yormark said that the men’s tournament last season was the highest ticket-grossing in Big 12 history. The women’s tournament “saw a 20% year-over-year increase in ticket revenue.”
“While nothing is definitive at this point, we are excited about the prospect of calling Kansas City home for years to come,” the Big 12 executive continued. “We hope to finalize this by the start of the basketball championships next spring. We are committed to the Kansas City community and continue to further integrate ourselves.”
As he said, both of these events will take place inside the T-Mobile Center in March, with tickets going on sale Nov. 10.
That has been the norm for the men’s championship, while the women will move to T-Mobile after playing multiple years inside the Municipal Auditorium located just a few blocks away from the Power and Light District.
A “junior” reporter from a local elementary school was in attendance on Wednesday and asked Yormark what he liked best about KC.
This was his answer:
“We do have an international strategy, but I think it starts right now with Mexico City,” said Yormark. “When I took the job, I didn’t want to partake in a one-off football game this year in Dublin (Ireland) and a football game somewhere else. I wanted to have a vested interest, and we chose Mexico City for all the right reasons.”
“It’s a great extension to our geographic footprint, it fits very naturally for us. There are 22 million people in Mexico City. A couple of our schools have extensions in Mexico City for recruitment. So I think that’s where we’re going to put our energy and emphasis in right now.
“Basketball will be our first entry into the market. Beyond that we’re looking at women’s soccer, we’re also looking at baseball.”
As far as recent Kansas University basketball sanctions go, Yormark didn’t have a lot to say.
“All I can say is it was a campus issue; I think the program has been vindicated, and I think the outcome was a fair one for all.”
Another hot topic on Tuesday was conference expansion. Yormark talked about the additions of BYU, Cincinnati, Central Florida and Houston and his excitement to see them on the hardwood this year.
“Right now we love the makeup and composition of this conference,” Yormark stated. “Love the four-corners that are joining us. They’ve already started to integrate, the four schools, they’ve been attending meetings, we’re strategizing on what next year will look like.”
Having said all that, Gonzaga to the Big 12 has been the most recent conference expansion rumor. Yormark has expressed in the past his desire to add them to bolster the conference even further in basketball.
However, on Tuesday, he avoided talking directly about the Bulldogs and expressed that further expansion is currently on hold.
“There’s nothing imminent with respect to expansion. We’re really happy with where we are now. We’ve become national, that was a goal of ours, from coast to coast.”