Southland Conference Basketball Championships to be hosted in Lake Charles through 2029
SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE COMMITS TO EXTENDING THE BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS IN LAKE CHARLES THROUGH 2029 FOLLOWING RECORD-BREAKING ECONOMIC BOOST
FRISCO, Texas – The Southland Conference Board of Directors unanimously approved the extension of the Southland Basketball Championships through 2029 in Lake Charles at the Legacy Center, while the Conference’s Baseball and Softball Championships will take place in Hammond, La., in the spring of 2024.
“Extending the Southland Basketball Championships through 2029 in Lake Charles and returning to Hammond, America for the Baseball and Softball Championships showcases our Board of Directors and Athletics Directors’ commitment to advancing our university communities while actively pursuing revenue-generating avenues to provide our student-athletes and the Conference with extensive exposure,” remarked Southland Commissioner Chris Grant.
Following two incredible inaugural tournaments, the 2024 Basketball Championships will continue title sponsorship with Jersey Mike’s, which is set to continue at McNeese’s Legacy Center. This state-of-the-art $41 million complex was completed and opened on campus in 2018. Commissioner Chris Grant emphasized, “The leadership in the community, the warm hospitality extended to all SLC fans by Lake Charles, and the accessibility of our furthest SLC campus being within a five-and-a-half-hour road trip (or the equivalent to the duration of the Commissioner’s Playlist on Spotify) played pivotal roles in leaving an indelible mark on our loyal SLC fans and ensuring they will return each year for an elevated experience on and off the court.”
The extension of the basketball championships directly results from the comprehensive value generated by the entirety of the 2023 Jersey Mike’s Southland Basketball Championships presented by ExploreLouisiana.com hosted in Lake Charles. These events yielded an unprecedented estimated impact of $5.3 million on Lake Charles community through 14 days, with 43% of attendees as non-Louisiana residents traveling to the event. This record-breaking economic contribution was achieved by hosting four Conference championships in Lake Charles during the 2022-23 academic year, marking the highest spending recorded in Conference history for a single destination hosting multiple championships in the same academic year. This achievement further highlights the Conference’s triumphant partnership with McNeese in revitalizing Southwest Louisiana.
In addition to Jersey Mike’s as basketball title, Van Wagner, who manages the SLC’s sponsorship and marketing partners program, has also been able to secure local partners, including Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, Louisiana Travel, Louisiana Propane, and Coushatta Casino and Resort to support the SLC events in Louisiana.
As part of the extension negotiations for the basketball tournament, the Southland Conference’s baseball and softball championships underwent a return to the Conference’s traditional bid process, falling under the oversight of the SLC Championship Committee. This committee thoroughly assessed all bids for baseball and softball, utilizing five critical criteria in site selection: student-athlete experience, facility quality, staffing, financial proposal, and hotel accommodations. With unanimous committee approval, Southeastern and the city of Hammond emerged as hosts for the upcoming spring championships. Southeastern is set to host the 2024 Southland Softball Championship at North Oak Park, while the 2024 Southland Baseball Championship will take place at the Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field.
“Given Tangipahoa Parish’s annual history of drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors for festivals, coupled with Southeastern’s established success in hosting prior SLC baseball and softball championships, showcasing their unwavering commitment to top-notch facilities and ongoing enhancements, the result is a distinct collection of premium championship experiences for all SLC student-athletes, their families, and supporters,” Deputy Commissioner Lizzie Gomez commented.
Over the next 48 hours, Commissioner Grant will participate in joint press conferences at the campuses of McNeese and Southeastern.
The Lake Charles press conference within the Legacy Center is scheduled for Wednesday, August 30, at 11 a.m. CT. The Hammond press conference will occur on Thursday, August 31, at 1 p.m. CT inside the Victory Club at Strawberry Stadium.
What Others Are Saying About the Southland Championship
McNeese Athletics Director Heath Schroyer
“Securing the opportunity to host our men’s and women’s conference basketball tournaments for the upcoming six years is a transformative milestone, given that last year’s basketball tournament alone injected over 3.6 million dollars into our community,” stated. Being able to prominently feature McNeese on linear ESPN three times during Championship week and contribute financially to our community over the next six years fills me with immense pride and happiness. Our university and Southwest Louisiana couldn’t ask for a better outcome.”
Southeastern Athletics Director Jay Artigues
“We are thrilled to welcome both tournaments back to Hammond, America. This development greatly benefits our athletic department, teams, university, and the entire community. Events like these significantly impact Hammond’s economy and Tangipahoa Parish as a whole. Showcasing our facilities, university, and community in Hammond is always a source of pride. Our corporate sponsors consistently support us, and bringing back events like these to Hammond for us to show our appreciation goes a long way.”
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