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St. Louis Can Host Two Tournaments, Right?

Apparently the SEC could be playing in St. Louis, and that really shouldn't matter to the MVC

The MVC has a long history at Scottrade, and some think the SEC may threaten that.
The MVC has a long history at Scottrade, and some think the SEC may threaten that.
Dilip Vishwanat

Back in May there were reports that the Southeastern Conference (aka the ESSS EEEE CEEE) could hold its basketball conference tournament in the city of St. Louis in 2017, and specifically at the Scottrade Center. While not confirmed or certain at this moment, it would be notable because the SEC has never held its tournament outside of its original geographic footprint and, well, the South.

While the news may have elicited nothing more than shrugs from most SEC fans, for some reason it sent some MVC fans into a panic. Like many conferences, the MVC keeps its tournament in one location every year. Not only that, but the tournament has been held at the Scottrade Center since 1991, meaning that the Big East and Madison Square Garden have the only longer lasting partnership between a conference and a neutral tournament site.

Coupled with the news that "Arch Madness" is losing its biggest sponsor (State Farm), some Valley fans have begun speculating that the tournament should move away from the Gateway to the West after its contract runs out in 2015. Their reasoning is that the SEC presence in St. Louis would result in diminished interest in the MVC because locals would choose to watch Kentucky or their MU Tigers instead of Wichita State and the state's second fiddle Missouri State Bears. While it may be true that Arch Madness could have a reduced number of local fans pay at the gate, the potential presence of the SEC at Scottrade should not make a difference to the MVC.

There are two reasons why the SEC should be irrelevant to the MVC and the first is that a single year in St. Louis is not enough reason to change decades of tradition. The majority of attendees at Arch Madness are fans of the participating teams and not random St. Louis citizens who figure it would be fun to see Evansville play Indiana State.

The second reason is that no other city makes as much sense as St. Louis. The next best option would be Kansas City and the Sprint Center, and the Sprint Center may actually be a better venue than Scottrade. However, it would make little sense to move from a neutral site that is already relatively close to all conference members to a location that would only significantly benefit Wichita State and Drake in terms of geographic proximity.

There was talk of Omaha's Quest Center being a potential landing spot for the tournament, but with Creighton's departure it would make little sense to move the tournament that far away from the Illinois and Indiana schools. The one city that would potentially make sense for the MVC to consider would be Chicago, especially with Loyola's induction to the group. At this time, though, St. Louis would appear to be the most likely location moving into the future.