El Paso, UTEP lose out on hosting 2015 C-USA basketbal tournaments

EL PASO, Texas - The Conference USA athletic directors voted to hold the C-USA men's and women's basketball tournaments in Birmingham, Alabama in 2015.

The announcement was made via C-USA's Twitter account.

El Paso, Mississippi Gulf Coast, Shreveport-Bossier, and Hattiesburg also put in bids for 2015.

UTEP officials called the March 2014 hosting of the C-USA basketball tournaments a boon for El Paso.

The tournaments, held in mid-March at the Don Haskins Center and Memorial Gym, generated about $1.1 million in ticket revenue, according to a news release.

UTEP was able to cover tournament expenses and the minimum guarantee to C-USA without requesting funding from the El Paso Sports Commission, County of El Paso, the City of El Paso and Destination El Paso.

"Destination El Paso is very pleased with the final outcome of the 2014 Conference USA Men's and Women's Basketball Championships," said Bryan Crowe, General Manager of Destination El Paso.  "With an increase in number of teams [31 total], this made for a longer tournament and more hotel rooms being booked.  A total of 3,200 hotel rooms were utilized by teams, cheerleaders, bands, cheer/dance squads, officials, media and fans in attendance which contributed an estimated $4.5 Mil to the local economy.  Equally impressive, the event garnered national media attention valued at nearly $400,000."

UTEP officials estimate the economic impact of the tournaments at $4.5 million. The university and city also received two days of national television exposure on CBS and CBS College Sports.

"The Sports Commission is proud to have been an integral part of the team that was assembled to stage this incredible tournament," said Brian Kennedy, CEO of the El Paso Sports Commission.  "From beginning to end, the teamwork of all El Paso was an example of how people coming together can accomplish anything."

"Our staff, the city of El Paso, the El Paso Sports Commission, Destination El Paso, and the Sun Bowl volunteers partnered to create a wonderful Conference USA Championship for the second time in four years," said UTEP Director of Athletics Bob Stull.  "Conference USA was extremely happy with the quality of the event once again, and we thank everyone for their support."

A joint resolution signed by the El Paso Sports Commission, the County of El Paso, the City of El Paso, Destination El Paso and the University of Texas at El Paso offered Conference USA a minimum $500,000 guarantee in exchange for the opportunity to host the tournament.

UTEP previously hosted the tournaments in 2011.

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