Thursday, March 10, 2011
Please commissioner Larry Scott move the Pac-10 tournament from L.A please?
Well folks the calender reads March so it's that time of year. That time of year where every conference has a conference tournament to showcase their conference to the nation. While every other conference is racing with Jimmy Johnson behind the wheel the Pac-10 will have the old 60 year old driving behind the wheel. As is often the case the Pac-10 finds themselves as the old man who yells "Get off my porch!". The Pac-10 has everything backwards which isn't the current commissioner Larry Scott's fault but he sure can help things. The Pac-10 has a terrible t.v. contract for football and basketball. The Pac-10 also has without a doubt the worst conference tournament going. A conference tournament that has the worst attendance in the nation can easily be fixed. In this following blog post I'll explain why moving the conference tournament from the nicest arena in the conference and second biggest city in the nation will improve the tournament. I'll suggest the logical venues such as a basic rotation since every Pac-10 soon to be Pac-12 team has an arena that could host such a tournament. I will also think outside the box and suggest a city that doesn't even have a Pac-10 soon to be Pac-12 team.
First I'll explain why Los Angeles is such a bad city to host such a big tournament. First of all Staples Center is way too big. Unless the Los Angeles Lakers are playing behind Kobe Bryant this place has often looked very empty. Just ask the Los Angeles Clippers before Blake Griffin arrived. I'd rather the conference tournament be in a stadium that is slighty too small than too big. Los Angeles also isn't the greatest sports city in the world. There is a reason why the NFL hasn't been there in over 15 seasons. Los Angeles is well known for arriving late and leaving early. It didn't take much effort the Washington Huskies fans to take over Los Angeles when the Huskies swept the USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins. Both crowds were split half and half showing Los Angeles has bigger and better things to do. Unless the UCLA Bruins or USC Trojans are playing in the game nobody else cares. The other games will often be empty as you'll see tomorrow when the Apple Cup round three takes place at 8:40 p.m. It's not too late for Scott to make a bold move and move from Los Angeles. Now I've determined that Scott should move from Los Angeles you are wondering where should they go?
I think the Pac-10 soon to be Pac-12 could go two different directions. I'll offer up the most fair solution which is a basic rotation. You could rotate between Phoenix(satisfies the Arizona schools), Oakland/San Jose(Bay Area), Portland(Oregon's), Seattle(Washington), Denver(Colorado), Los Angeles(LA schools) and even Spokane(Washington State). All these places have hosted NCAA tournament games with great success. In the past NCAA tournament games were lame atmosphere's but with the pod system there is more life to them. Last year the Huskies took over San Jose just like the year before at Portland. Spokane has done a tremendous job over the years hosting the tournament. All these places can host an NCAA tournament and some even the elite eight so surely they can host a conference tournament. Plus by rotating it keeps the tournament fresh and I think more of a fan turn out would happen. If your team is struggling say like the Huskies are this year why go? I'll just wait next year to go to Los Angeles. While if it's rotating and let's say the tournament is in Phoenix when spring training is going on some fans might go anyways. With a rotation every fan base will have the opportunity to see their home team at least once in a decade. Unlike other conferences the Pac-10 soon to be Pac-12 has arena's for every group of teams that have had NBA games/hosted NCAA tournament games. The downfall is how can you make noise to the folks on the east coast when it is stuck up in Spokane? Well I have my personal favorite solution that I think fits the fair category, fan excitement category, and making noise back east.
I suggest moving the tournament to Las Vegas, Nevada. Yes that is correct I just suggest Sin City, the gambling capitol of the world, a city that doesn't even have a team in our soon to be 12 team conference. I also have a vision and I know Vegas would work and be the best thing for this conference. Anyone who has been to Vegas is nodding their head in agreement with me right now. If this tournament was in Vegas you wouldn't be reading this instead you would be in Vegas having a great time. The West Coast Conference tournament just finished and it was a huge success. The crowd was into it and there was plenty of fans there. Who wants to watch a championship game where there is more empty seats than people? I sure as hell don't! In Vegas which is the tourist capitol of the world fans would flock in full force to check out the tournament. Vegas offers plenty of things to do throughout the day as well. Not suggesting Los Angeles is some boring city at all but in Los Angeles the bars close at 2 a.m. Not in Las Vegas you can drink all night long. There is tons of casino's and hotels everywhere for people to stay at. Las Vegas also is a cheaper flight than Los Angeles. Las Vegas is still only four hours away from Los Angeles and six hours from Phoenix. Las Vegas would provide fans for something to do when there is no games going on. Las Vegas has so many tourists as well that you'll have more fans who want to go watch the event. Now some people have some concerns which I'll address.
The pictures to the right are of the proposed new sports complexes that could be built in Las Vegas. They would feature a minor league baseball stadium, an NFL sized football stadium(think Super Bowl) and an NBA arena(Hello Kings after they fail in Anaheim in five years). With a state of the art arena you won't feel the pain as much when leaving Staples Center. Another concern I've heard is what about the distractions of Las Vegas? Yes because Los Angeles is such a clean city with zero crime ever. Just look at Elise Woodward and Kim Grinolds facebook status about some guy with a gun in his hotel currently. If players want to get in trouble they can get in trouble in any city. The players are under curfew anyways so nobody would be going out and like I said if they want to sneak out they would anyways. The people who are complaining about Las Vegas "dirty" side are anti-gambling which is totally fine. Just remember those Ned Flanders types probably wouldn't be going to Los Angeles either. Even if Las Vegas never breaks ground on that arena it is at least something worth trying once right? Las Vegas doesn't have a team but has several big time money makers in town. Word would spread to New York quickly about the Pac-10 soon to be 12 tournament(especially if on ESPN or own network). If Las Vegas bombs(which I don't think it will) then at worst you failed one year. Larry Scott needs to try something because the current format is broken.
All in all, I'll stick to my belief that Las Vegas is the best option. I think you'll get more fans to travel to the event. Everyone is looking for an excuse to go to Las Vegas regardless of the time of year. There is a reason why the Las Vegas bowl which typically features a 6th place Pac-10 team always sells out. There is a reason why the NBA summer league is always packed as well because Las Vegas for all that it has is dying for sports. Las Vegas needs sports extremely bad and if the tournament goes to Las Vegas it would be a huge success. Don't waste any time commissioner Scott you can muscle the west coast conference out but I don't know about the Mountain West conference(UNLV is Mountain West). Get in there and try to steal another market. Plant your flag in another conference territory. The Pac-16 isn't dead yet and I predict by 2016 there will be more expansion. This is the perfect way to announce to the nation you are ready to expand. This is the perfect way to announce hey look at us we are the "cool" conference. Las Vegas is a city full of glitz and glamor. The Pac-10 soon to be Pac-12 knows what to do just move the conference tournament to Las Vegas. For once guys think outside the box instead of always being the last conference to adapt to the new way. While the Big East and the ACC is using twitter the Pac-10 is still using myspace. The time is now Pac-10 soon to be Pac-12 to make a stand! Move the conference tournament to Las Vegas mark my words it will be a huge success.