PENSACOLA, Fla. – The Sun Belt Conference announced today that the city of Pensacola, Fla., has been selected to host the 2021-25 Sun Belt Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships as a part of the league’s partnership with Pensacola Sports, in collaboration with the Pensacola Bay Center, Pensacola State College and Visit Pensacola.
Over the five-year agreement, the conference is set to return to 12-team formats for both men’s and women’s tournaments. The 2021 Sun Belt Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships are scheduled for March 5-8 with first-round and second-round games played simultaneously at the Pensacola Bay Center and Hartsell Arena on the campus of Pensacola State College and semifinal and championship games played at the Bay Center. Both championship games are slated for live coverage with the women’s final on ESPNU and the men’s final on ESPN or ESPN2.
“To build on the rich basketball history across our men’s and women’s programs in the Sun Belt, it was important to find a home for our championships where we could grow and create new traditions for our entire membership,” said Sun Belt Commissioner Keith Gill. “Pensacola is an energized community that has embraced our conference and already is a premier destination for Sun Belt fans and alumni.”
“We are excited to roll out the red carpet for the entire Sun Belt family and create memorable championship experiences for all,” said Pensacola Sports President/CEO Ray Palmer. “With the staggering number of world-class athletes and champions who call Pensacola home, hosting the Sun Belt Basketball Championships is a great opportunity to showcase our City of Champions.”
The conference is taking its men’s championship to the Sunshine State for the first time, while the women’s championship makes a return for the first time since the 1988 tournament was played at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla.
Pensacola was selected from a bid process managed by the Sun Belt office and a review process voted on and approved by the league’s Presidents and Chancellors and Directors of Athletics.
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About Pensacola Sports
Pensacola Sports is one of the oldest sports associations/commissions in the United States, beginning in 1955. Today, Pensacola Sports manages or assists in numerous events a year throughout the Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa county areas, and is the lead sports tourism agency for Escambia County. Events include a high school all-star series, flag football, 5K-15K runs, marathons, triathlons, soccer and softball tournaments, collegiate national championships, fishing tournaments, and scholarship banquets to name a few. Pensacola Sports is dedicated to building a better community through sports. Be Moved! To learn more, visit PensacolaSports.com.
About Visit Pensacola
Visit Pensacola is the destination organization for Escambia County which includes Pensacola, Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key. With over 450 years of rich history and 18 miles of sugar-white sand beaches bordered by the emerald-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico, visitors from all over the world are lured to our pristine shores every year. Visit Pensacola supports the community vision of tourism by serving as the central body responsible for building tourism as an economic engine for our community through leadership, connection, collaboration and communication. To learn more, visit VisitPensacola.com.
About Escambia County, Fla.
Home to more than 300,000 residents in northwest Florida, Escambia County is the westernmost and one of the oldest counties in the state. The mission of Escambia County government is to provide efficient, responsive services that enhance our quality of life, meet common needs and promote a safe and healthy community. With nearly 1,800 employees, we pride ourselves on being the perfect climate for everything – building a business, raising a family and enjoying recreational pursuits. Picture perfect white sand beaches and clear, emerald Gulf waters draw millions of vacationers to Escambia each year, especially to Pensacola Beach, named the No. 4 Top U.S. Beach in 2020 by TripAdvisor. To learn more, visit MyEscambia.com.