BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (SEC Release)– The Southeastern Conference has awarded the 2016 SEC Women's Basketball Tournament to Jacksonville, Florida, and the Jacksonville Sports Council, Commissioner Mike Slive announced Wednesday.
"The Southeastern Conference and its member institutions are excited to travel to Jacksonville, a new site for our women's basketball tournament," Slive said. We look forward to showcasing our women's basketball programs in the Sunshine State for the first time. Our student-athletes, coaches and current fans will greatly enjoy their visit and the exciting games will forge new fans of SEC women's basketball in the process."
The 2016 tournament will be played in the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena which is a 15,000-seat multi-purpose arena. Built in 2003, the venue is home to the Jacksonville Sports Hall of Fame and has hosted events such as the 2006 and the 2010 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament and will again be the site of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. The arena is also home of the AFL Jacksonville Sharks, the ABA Jacksonville Giants, and the Jacksonville University Men's and Women's Basketball teams.
"Jacksonville is honored to host the 2016 SEC Women's Basketball Tournament," said Mayor Alvin Brown. "Our city has become a premier venue and destination for major sports events. We'll be ready to show our hospitality and offer a warm Jacksonville welcome to the tournament teams and their many fans from throughout the Southeast region."
The Jacksonville Sports Council, a division of Gator Bowl Sports, worked with the Southeastern Conference to secure this event for the City of Jacksonville.
"We are extremely excited to bring such a premiere sporting event like the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament to the Northeast Florida area. This is a great opportunity to showcase our area as well as to further enhance our partnership with the Southeastern Conference," said Carl Cannon, Chairman of the Jacksonville Sports Council.
In addition to hosting the 2016 SEC Women's Basketball Tournament, Jacksonville will also serve as host in November 2015 to a premiere women's basketball event involving two SEC teams. Additional information on this event will be available at a later date.
The SEC Women's Basketball Tournament was previously announced for North Little Rock in 2015 and Nashville in 2018, 2022 and 2026.
In the women's tournament's history, 14 cities have hosted; Albany, Ga. (1987-1992); Athens, Ga. (1984, 1986); Baton Rouge, La. (1981); Chattanooga, Tenn. (1993-1997, 1999-2000); Columbus, Ga. (1998); Duluth, Ga. (2007, 2010, 2013, 2014); Greenville, S.C. (2005); Jacksonville, Fla. (2016); Knoxville, Tenn. (1980, 1983); Lexington, Ky. (1982); Oxford, Miss. (1985); Memphis, Tenn. (2001); Nashville, Tenn. (2002, 2004, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2018, 2022, 2026); and North Little Rock, Ark. (2003, 2006, 2009, 2015).