UIL State Basketball Championships Will Stay In San Antonio Through At Least 2017
The University Interscholastic League announced Thursday it reached an agreement with the City of San Antonio to continue hosting the boys and girls basketball state tournaments inside the Alamodome through 2017.
The news ended speculation the state tournaments would either return to their traditional homes at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin or begin rotating around the state in the short-term future. San Antonio will receive the events for second and third consecutive years.
“The Alamodome was extremely hospitable and helpful during the planning phases and as the host of the UIL Basketball Tournaments this year,” executive director Charles Breithaupt said in the UIL's news release. “We look forward to improving upon the excellent tournaments and providing a convenient, first class event at the San Antonio Alamodome.”
The state tournaments, which occur annually in March, feature the four regional winners per classification from across the state. Those four teams square off against each other in state semifinal games with the winners advancing to the state title match.
Prior to last season, both the boys and girls state tournaments had been conducted in Austin for 63 years. The boys tournament had been located in the state capital since 1921.
The UIL opted to move the tournaments last year after several years of competing with the South by Southwest music, film and interactive conferences for resources. Both sets of events were major draws to Austin during the timespan and put strains on the local infrastructure.
Nazareth, which competed in the 2014 boys state tournament, had to stay in Marble Falls due to the hotel demand and budgetary issues. It traveled about 50 miles one-way from its accommodations to the Frank Erwin Center.
San Antonio, on the other hand, is one of the nation's primary convention areas and has more dedicated infrastructure. It hosts 26 million tourists per year, according to the city's convention and visitors bureau.
The Alamodome is a 65,000-seat, professional football caliber venue. However, it was the home of the San Antonio Spurs from 1993 through 2002.
The state tournaments lean toward the old Spurs configuration. The floor is laid in one of the end zones, temporary stands surround three sides of the court and the building's expanse toward the opposite end zone is curtained off.
East Texas sent three teams to the Alamodome in its first year as the state tournament site. Martin's Mill's girls team won the Class 2A state championship while Martin's Mill's boys team and the LaPoynor girls team reached the 2A semifinals in their respective tournaments.
Dates and ticket sales for the 2016 tournaments also were announced.
The girls tournament will run from March 3 to March 5. The boys tournament begins March 10 and ends March 12.
Tickets for the tournaments will become available May 26.
The UIL also will have to make a venue decision for the 2015 state football championships in the near future. It was interested in using Arlington's AT&T Stadium for all of its final games for a fourth straight year, but a Dallas Cowboys scheduling conflict will force the organization to move the slate up a day or turn to another in-state facility.
The 2014 football championships site decision was formally announced in July.