KANSAS CITY, Mo. —Kansas City's basketball future got a ringing endorsement Wednesday from Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe .
The conference basketball tournaments, with the men set for the Sprint Center through 2014 and women in Municipal Auditorium through 2013, aren't up for bids this year.
But when that happens for the men, a competing city will be starting at a disadvantage, according to Beebe.
"There are certain places where you're going to do well no matter what," Beebe said. "They're in markets where you don't have pro competition or they're small enough that the event there is huge.
"In the NCAA, we see that in Kansas City. We see it in Spokane and Dayton. Those places, no matter what teams are coming, people in that locale want to come out and watch. We've really bene fited by having that here in Kansas City."
The men's tournament has played to nearly full houses at the Sprint Center in its three years — 2008, 2010 and 2011 — thanks largely to the success of Kansas, which has won all three tournaments.
But it's when the top attractions aren't playing, that most impresses Beebe.
"What I've been pleased about in this market is when our student-athletes walk out and 75 percent of the arena is filled on a day the top four seeds aren't even playing," Beebe said. "There 's just a high interest of basketball. It provides tremendous atmosphere."
Others will bid for future conference tournaments, and without a football championship game the basketball championship becomes the league showcase. Should it be rotated to Oklahoma City or a site in Texas?
"My own personal opinion is there's going to have to be someplace that demonstrates that kind of interest, and a lot of times you don't get that in other places," Beebe said. "We've gotten that here in Kansas City and in Oklahoma City, but with the (NBA) Thunder there, it takes some of the thunder for the attendance. But we'll see what the bids look like in the next round."
Attendance for the women's tournament has been disappointing in Kansas City, and it's likely the tournament will be relocated after 2013.
No expansion plans — Expansion isn't on the Big 12 horizon, Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds insists.
"No, absolutely not," Dodds said. "Not a thought, not a conversation, nothing. A better way to say this is I don't think the Big 12 is going to start something. If somebody starts something , like the Big Ten did, then there may be some reaction to it or some fallout from it. I've heard no conversation about it.
"We like the way it is. Dividing by 10 is better than dividing by 12, when you're talking dollars. It's pretty good the way it is. I think every A.D. likes the way it is."