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Big Sky Conference extends deal to keep basketball tournament in Boise

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Posted at 7:57 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 22:10:48-05

BOISE, Idaho — Big Sky Conference commissioner Tom Wistrcill announced on Thursday that the league has reached a deal to keep its men's and women's basketball tournaments in Boise, Idaho, at Idaho Central Arena.

The deal keeps the tournament in Boise for the next five years through 2026.

The tournament is currently in the third year of being played in Boise after moving from Reno, Nevada, in 2019. The Big Sky went to a neutral site for the tournament permanently in 2016.

“The overall postseason experience that Boise offers our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and fans is second to none, which is a credit to our many wonderful partners in the city and around the state,” Wistrcill said in a media release. “On behalf of our member institutions, we sincerely appreciate how welcoming everyone in Boise has been, and we are thrilled to secure a long-term deal to stay here and build upon the momentum generated over the past three years.”

In 2019, the Montana men's basketball team won the first tournament in Boise as part of back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

The announcement comes almost exactly a year to the day when the tournament was canceled at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. The Montana State women had advanced to the women's championship game in 2020 while the MSU and UM men had yet to take the court.

“We are so proud to continue to host this tournament for Idahoans and fans to enjoy, and we welcome the significant economic impact it brings to our state,” Idaho governor Brad Little said in a media release. “Idaho leads the nation in economic momentum, and our state’s diverse economy and natural wonders make us uniquely positioned to provide an incredible experience for the competitors and fans.”

“I'm excited to continue our partnership with the Big Sky Conference to bring safe and fun entertainment to the City of Boise,” added Boise mayor Lauren McLean. “I can't wait to welcome all the athletes to our great community and root them on in person.”