Conference USA announced Tuesday that its 2018 and 2019 men’s and women’s basketball championship will move to The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco.
The move is a partnership with the Dallas Cowboys, the University of North Texas and the Frisco Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The 2018 championships will take place March 7-10 with 22 games—11 men’s games and 11 women’s games. The conference champions will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.
“When we first started on this journey, a few people thought I was crazy,” Conference USA Commissioner Judy MacLeod said. “But the main focus was to make sure our student athletes have a memorable, unique and a first-class experience, and I’m not sure where you’re going to find a better first-class experience than here.”
Jerry Jones Jr., executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer for the Cowboys, said The Ford Center will be converted for the tournament to accommodate basketball games.
“What we’ve been able to do is build a 12,000-seat, indoor high school football stadium that can transform to do other innovative things,” Jones said. “… What we’re doing here at The Star for this tournament will be cutting-edge.”
Outgoing Frisco Mayor Maher Maso said Frisco City Council has worked hard to expand sports tourism in the city.
“These events are designed to be special for the participants, for our residents, and all of North Texas and also to have an economic impact to our community,” he said. “… The participants and the visitors that are coming to watch will be staying in hotels, eating at restaurants.”
The CVB calculates that the direct economic impact to the region from this tournament would be $1.4 million.
Baylor Scott & White Sports Therapy & Research at The Star will be the presenting sponsor of the championships.
Frisco will be the eighth city to host the men’s basketball championship and the 13th city for the women’s basketball championship.
Conference USA is an NCAA Division I athletic conference based in Irving with 14 participating colleges and universities.