Publication:Hot Springs Sentinel-Record; Date:Feb 5, 2012; Section:Main; Page Number:1

City to propose deal for basketball championships

MARK GREGORY Managing editor

Arrison said.

    “The state championship is an awesome event for Hot Springs; however, the Sun Belt tournament brings in people for a longer period of time therefore generating more revenue for the city of Hot Springs,” Durmon says in his letter to Taylor.

    “Last year, we were able to track over 2,700 room nights just from the teams, bands and sprit groups. This does not include other fans and attendees that came to Hot Springs for the four-day tournament. The Sun Belt Tournament also offers Hot Springs national media attention with the games being televised on ESPN,” Durmon said.

    “We had three or four nationally televised games last year,” Arrison said, adding that Hot Springs is mentioned during those games, increasing the promotional aspect.

    Durmon’s letter says Hot Springs is “very much interested” in proposing another three-year deal for the state basketball championships for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016.

    “And, if both parties agree, have the exclusive right to extend the contract

    Visit Hot Springs plans to propose another three-year deal for the state high school basketball championships, beginning in 2014, to the Arkansas Activities Association.

    Craig Durmon, sales manager, sent a letter outlining the proposal this week to Lance Taylor, executive director of the Arkansas Activities Association. It plans to make the proposal at the AAA workshop in June.

    Visit Hot Springs notified the AAA in June 2010 that, due to its contract with the Sun Belt Conference basketball tournament, it does not have the state basketball championships dates available in 2013.

    Hot Springs will host the Sun Belt through 2014. This is the final year of its contract to host the state high school championships.

    “It’s an unfortunate conflict, but we would like to bid for the next three years,” Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs, said Friday.

    “If push comes to shove, we’ll always take the Sun Belt over state basketball,”
after the 2015 championships without going through the formal bid process,” he said.

    “We have a great relationship with your staff and have proved to be a great host venue with some great games, great atmosphere and tremendous crowds over the past five years,” Durmon said.

    The state high school basketball championships, held in Hot Springs March 10-12, 2011, had a total attendance of 60,122, according to Visit Hot Springs. The Sun Belt Conference basketball tournament, held March 5-8, had a total attendance of 29,034.

    Durmon said Visit Hot Springs is holding the dates of March 13-15, 2014, March 12-14, 2015 and March 10-12, 2016, for the state championships, which it will propose at the June AAA workshop.

    “We’re trying to keep all of the dates open,” Arrison said.