As the Pac-12 Conference's deal with the MGM Grand to hold the Pac-12 Tournament in the MGM Grand Garden Arena came to an end in 2016, and with the construction of a new state-of-the-art arena across the street, there had been much speculation that the conference would move into the new arena.
Larry Scott made the move official on Friday.
T-Mobile Arena will open in April as construction is winding down, and in 2017, it will host the Pac-12 men's basketball tournament, and will for at least the next three years.
"We had the opportunity to reevaluate (the Pac-12 Tournament) with this being our last year of our agreement with the MGM Grand and Las Vegas Events to consider the future and the possibility of working with MGM International to consider the new facility being built across the street, and it gives me great pleasure to announce that we have decided to move starting next year," Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott announced at a press conference before Friday's semifinal games.
"As part of a three-year agreement, we will play the Pac-12 Tournament at the T-Mobile Arena."
The major question that will have to be answered is the conference's ability to fill the new arena, as it has a capacity of 18,500. MGM Grand Garden Arena holds roughly 16,000, but is slightly less than that for basketball. 2016 was the first time the Pac-12 was able to sell all available tickets for the tournament in MGM prior to the event starting.
The people involved with the decision also said that if the conference is unable to fill it up, there are options to shrink capacity and make it look and feel more intimate.
One issue that may come up as well is moving non-game events out of the MGM itself. T-Mobile Arena has a two-acre plaza in front of it that the Pac-12 plans on moving pep rallies and other things to.
Greg Byrne went on a tour of T-Mobile Arena on Wednesday before this year's tournament began.
Sean Miller also gave his opinion on the matter earlier in the week.
"The way that it was portrayed to us, the conference cares a lot about being first class," Miller said on Monday. "The conference cares about being big time, and when you have an arena like that, it's an NBA arena in the year 2016 and it's an incredible stage."
"If we would choose not to move our tournament there because of the capacity being too much or whatever, then somebody else is going to do that," coach continued. "And what you risk is that you're the B game in a great city where our tournament has taken on a lot of momentum, and you could see where we could potentially lose that momentum."
"And there's other factors. If you stay where we are right now, the upkeep of that place may not be looked at as important in the future as it has to this point, so a lot of factors are taken into consideration."
"I know the elephant in the room is that we've created an environment where the arena is filled with a lot of Arizona fans, and if the capacity changes to a 20,000 seat arena, would we be back to that same feeling we had in Los Angeles prior to moving to Las Vegas."
The Pac-12 Commissioner did say that the vote to move the tournament was unanimous among the conference's members.
I think it'll work out for the conference. If anything, it allows even more fans to take in the Pac-12 Tournament experience, and the location doesn't actually move that much, and the new arena may actually be more accessible, since you'll no longer have to walk through the casino and food court and everything else in MGM Grand. And let's be real, Arizona will still have the biggest, loudest, strongest turn out among the 12 teams, no matter what arena they're playing this in, as long as it's in Las Vegas and on The Strip.