The Sioux Falls Arena housed thousands of fans for the Summit League Tournament and to say the least, the four day event definitely paid off.
It was yet another record setting year for the tournament. Since landing in Sioux Falls in 2009 attendance has only been growing. And organizers now hope it stays successful long into the future.
"It's fantastic," Sioux Falls Sport Authority Executive Director Wes Hall said.
Nearly 45,000 fans sat in the stands over the four days of the Summit League Tournament. It beat out the previous record by more than 4,000.
"If you take a look at other mid-majors, even some major conference tournaments this past week going in to this weekend, we match up very well compared to them in terms of what we pull in for these games," Hall said.
Hall says the success of the tournament doesn't surprise him. With South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota just a short drive away, it's a quick and easy trip for local fans. He says it's now time to plan for the future.
"We've already sold over 2,500 all session passes for 2014, so we’re well over one-third of the capacity sold already going into next year. So we anticipate a big year going into 2014,” Hall said.
But next year is only the beginning of a long Summit League future in Sioux Falls. We could be seeing the tournament for nearly another decade.
"We do have a contract through 2017, which is guaranteed. Summer of 2015, we’ll look at continuing that contract, keep it here through 2022," Hall said. "Like I said, since it has been here, we've set records. We've set basically every attendance record they've had in their history. So, I hope they enjoy their time here and I know we like having them here. So, yeah, I’d like seeing them here for a few more years."
Hall also says that the new Denny Sanford PREMIER Center will give the tournament yet another boost when it's finished in 2015. They'll have 12,000 seats available at the new venue.