Mark it down: A national basketball championship will be coming to Lawrence this year.
The Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau has landed a bid to host the United States Specialty Sports Association’s Winter National Basketball Tournament from March 18 to 20. The tournament is expected to attract 4,500 participants and fill about 700 hotel room nights.
“We think we’ll have a lot of teams traveling in from quite a distance,” said Bob Sanner, sports marketing manager for the Lawrence CVB. “They view this as their chance to compete for a national championship.”
About 130 teams are expected to compete in the event. That’s up from about 85 teams that have competed in a regional tournament that USSSA previously has hosted in Lawrence.
Sanner said his group was excited to land the tournament because of the amount of money team members and their families likely will spend in the city.
“We know they are going to have to eat someplace, and we know there are other forms of commerce that will be going on,” Sanner said.
Tournament games — which will feature players in second grade through high school — will be played at Kansas University’s Robinson Center, the Ambler Student Recreation Fitness Center, and possibly at Lawrence High and Haskell Indian Nations University.
Lawrence businesses will get a bit of a warm-up this weekend. Midwest Sports Production’s Jayhawker Classic tournament will take place this weekend. About 130 teams are expected to be in town, mainly from Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri. Games for that tournament largely will be played in KU gyms at Robinson and Ambler.