MSHSAA granted access to Mizzou Arena

Friday, December 3, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:13 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 11, 2008

Upgrading from a dorm room to an apartment usually involves paying more money for a higher-quality living environment.

The Missouri State High School Activities Association made a similar upgrade and paid only 3 percent more to do so.

MSHSAA officials said Thursday that the boys’ and girls’ high school basketball tournaments will be held at Mizzou Arena instead of Hearnes Center for at least the next two years.

“We are extremely pleased to have this opportunity,” MSHSAA executive director Becky Oakes said. “We feel very privileged.”

The change in venue will cost the MSHSAA just $2,000 more, from $58,000 for all five days to $60,000.

“We knew there was a possibility of using the new arena, and we planned on negotiating,” MSHSAA assistant executive director George Blase said. “The price increase was agreeable to everyone.”

MU Athletic Director Mike Alden said the university’s focus in the negotiations was to ensure an easy transition.

“We wanted to make this as seamless as possible,” Alden said. “We have a strong interest in hosting MSHSAA events at Mizzou Arena and our other venues. We’d love to have the football championship at Faurot Field.”

Neither Alden nor Oakes said they knew if a price increase would occur when the current contract expires in 2006.

“We wanted to keep the same terms for the move,” Oakes said. “It’s hard to know if there will be a price increase.”

The MSHSAA will also pay MU 6.5 percent of the gross total revenue generated by the tournaments. Alden said with the flat fee and the gate revenues the university stands to make about $100,000 from the tournaments.

“There’s an opportunity with the newness of the arena to generate more fans than the Hearnes Center did,” Alden said.

There will be no schedule adjustment with the move. The Class 4A and 5A tournaments for both boys’ and girls’ basketball will be March 11-12 and the Class 1A, 2A and 3A tournaments will be March 17-19.

“We knew we wanted to get into the new arena,” Oakes said. “Like everyone else, we were curious to see how it would turn out.”

Columbia’s Mayor Pro Tem Bob Hutton said the city benefits from the tournaments being played at MU. The Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates the tournaments will generate almost $3 million for the city.

“There are not many events like this that can give such an economic boost to the city,” Hutton said. “We want the kids to think that they aren’t just going to get to play at Mizzou Arena but that they’ll get to play in Columbia.”

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