The Pac-12 men's basketball tournament is moving to Sin City for the next three years.
Commissioner Larry Scott announced the deal Tuesday at the MGM Grand hotel-casino in Las Vegas, standing poolside near a site known for boxing, not basketball.
Scott said the move, combined with moving the women's tournament to Seattle, will generate buzz and create atmosphere for the conference's fans.
The Pac-12 tournament running March 13-16, 2013, will be the fourth conference tournament in Las Vegas, along with the Mountain West, Western Athletic Conference and West Coast Conference.
"For hardcore basketball fans, this is going to be like Disneyland," Scott said.
Rossi Ralenkotter of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said the tournament will establish Las Vegas as the town where March Madness begins, with the tournaments generating $27 million in spending in the city — excluding gambling.
"It's a win-win for all of us," Ralenkotter said.Comment on this story
All the tournament's games will be televised under a 12-year deal with ESPN, Fox and the newly created Pac-12 Network. Scott said ESPN would air three tournament games, including the championship, next year.
Sin City won out over other places including Salt Lake City, Seattle and Los Angeles in bidding to host the tournament, Scott said.
MELO DECLARED INELIGIBLE: Syracuse will have to chase a national championship without starting center Fab Melo, who has been declared ineligible for the NCAA tournament. The university announced Tuesday that the 7-foot Brazilian, who did not travel with the team to Pittsburgh for the second- and third-round games, won't take part in the tournament due to an eligibility issue. The school did not elaborate. Melo missed three games earlier this season — including one of the top-seeded Orange's two losses — because of an academic issue.
UCLA TO STICK WITH HOWLAND: Coming off what he calls the most disappointing season of his coaching career, Ben Howland said Tuesday that he's intent on changing the culture of the once-storied UCLA basketball program, which staggered through a year that included an NCAA snub and the dismissal of standout player Reeves Nelson.