Mandalay Bay to Host 2021 Big West Conference Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships
IRVINE, CA (December 23, 2020) – The Big West Conference announced today it will move the 2021 Big West Conference Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships, presented by Hawai’i Tourism Authority, to the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, March 9-13, 2021.
Due to the cancellation of conference games during the 2020-21 schedule, all 10 men’s and nine women’s teams will compete in the 2021 championship. In prior years, only eight teams qualified for each league tournament.
“We are very appreciative of our partners at Honda Center who agreed to allow us to relocate the Big West Basketball Championships, presented by Hawai’i Tourism Authority, to Las Vegas and the Mandalay Bay Events Center in 2021,” Big West Commissioner Dan Butterly said. “bdG Sports and MGM Resorts International will provide a bubble-like setting that includes significant proactive measures to mitigate the impact of the virus and safeguard the health and safety of all teams competing in the championships.”
The Mandalay Bay Events Center plays host to the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces, and hosted both the 2019 WNBA All-Star Game as well as the 2020 Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Championship. Mandalay Bay also hosted the NBA G-League Winter Showcase in December 2019.
bdG Sports, in conjunction with MGM Resorts, will assist in managing the championships and administer a comprehensive health and safety plan for the event including use of an on-site medical center conducting both rapid antigen and PCR tests. All student-athletes, coaches and staff will be provided daily screenings and testing in accordance with NCAA recommendations, state and county restrictions, and contact tracing. Competitors also will be able to safely walk from their Mandalay Bay hotel rooms to the venue to compete in the championships without outside contact.
Additional safety protocols include dedicated meeting room space for each team, as well as sanitization of shared spaces such as on-site practice facilities, locker rooms, staff rooms, training areas and scorer’s table surfaces between each use. Team benches will be split into three appropriately distanced rows. Benches, basketballs and shared-use areas, such as media tables, will be sanitized at the start of each day and immediately upon the completion of each game.
George Kliavkoff, President of Entertainment & Sports for MGM Resorts, said, “This is a great opportunity to partner with Dan and the Big West Conference for the first time. The men’s and women’s teams deliver a high-level of competition to basketball fans nationwide and we believe this will be another step in bringing back events to the Sports and Entertainment Capital of the World.”
All games in the Big West Basketball Championships, presented by Hawai’i Tourism Authority, will be carried on ESPN platforms. All eight women’s contests, as well as the men’s First Round and Quarterfinal games, will appear on ESPN3. The men’s basketball Semifinals and Championship game will be aired on ESPN linear networks.
Brooks Downing, President and CEO of bdG Sports, the company that has managed NCAA basketball games and tournaments in Las Vegas since 2013, said, “Mandalay Bay provides the ideal campus in which to create a safe ‘stay and play’ environment for all 19 Big West teams. After running two separate bubbles with success in both Las Vegas and Southwest Florida to start the season, we can implement our best practices as well as the same testing and safety protocols to assist Commissioner Butterly and his team at the Big West Conference in delivering two conference champions in March that are ready to move on to the NCAA Tournament.”
The Big West will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and the possibility of allowing limited crowds at the event. An official determination on attendance limits, spectator health and safety protocols, and ticket pricing will be made in the near future.
BIG WEST BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS SCHEDULE
10 MEN’S TEAM AND NINE WOMEN’S TEAM FORMAT
(Game Times Subject to Change)
Tuesday, March 9
Game #1 12:00 p.m. PT Women’s First Round #8 Seed vs. #9 Seed
Game #2 2:30 p.m. PT Men’s First Round #8 Seed vs. #9 Seed
Game #3 5:00 p.m. PT Men’s First Round #7 Seed vs. #10 Seed
Wednesday, March 10
Game #4 12:00 p.m. PT Women’s Quarterfinal Game #1 Winner vs. #1 Seed
Game #5 2:30 p.m. PT Women’s Quarterfinal #5 Seed vs. #4 Seed
Game #6 6:00 p.m. PT Women’s Quarterfinal #7 Seed vs. #2 Seed
Game #7 8:30 p.m. PT Women’s Quarterfinal #6 Seed vs. #3 Seed
Thursday, March 11
Game #8 12:00 p.m. PT Men’s Quarterfinal Game 2 Winner vs. #1 Seed
Game #9 2:30 p.m. PT Men’s Quarterfinal #5 Seed vs. #4 Seed
Game #10 6:00 p.m. PT Men’s Quarterfinal Game 3 Winner vs. #2 Seed
Game #11 8:30 p.m. PT Men’s Quarterfinal #6 Seed vs. #3 Seed
Friday, March 12
Game #12 12:00 p.m. PT Women’s Semifinals Winners of Games #4 and #5
Game #13 2:30 p.m. PT Women’s Semifinals Winners of Games #6 and #7
Game #14 6:30 p.m. PT Men’s Semifinals Winners of Games #8 and #9
Game #15 9:00 p.m. PT Men’s Semifinals Winners of Games #10 and #11
Saturday, March 13
Game #16 5:00 p.m. PT Women’s Championship Game
Game #17 8:30 p.m. PT Men’s Championship Game
About Big West Conference
The Big West Conference was formed in 1969 and is a member of NCAA Division I with 11 academically and athletically prominent institutions consisting of Cal Poly, CSU Bakersfield, Cal State Fullerton, CSUN, Long Beach State, Hawai‘i, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara. The conference sponsors 18 sports at the NCAA Division I level: baseball, softball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s volleyball, women’s beach volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s track and field and women’s water polo. www.bigwest.org.
About bdG Sports
bdG Sports is a representation, event management, and public relations firm operating on an international platform within the sports marketing industry. bdG manages multiple college basketball and college hockey events across North America and the Caribbean, highlighted by tournaments in Southwest Florida, Las Vegas and The Bahamas as well as three Korn Ferry Tour events and a series of premium golf pro-am events. For more information, visit www.bdglobalsports.com or follow on @bdGlobalSports on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
bdG Sports: Jon Albaugh – firstname.lastname@example.org
Big West Conference: Mike Villamor – email@example.com