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Ideal city to host the SEC Tournament?


Earlier today, Oscar “naughty curl” Combs started a debate about the best cities to host the SEC basketball tournament. Apparently, there was some talk at SEC Media Days about how Memphis has repeatedly been shut out of consideration, while cities like Nashville and New Orleans have found their way into the rotation, along with Atlanta, of course.

Here’s the breakdown of recent and future tournament sites (Cal era forward):
2010: Nashville
2011: Atlanta
2012: New Orleans
2013: Nashville
2014: Atlanta
2015: Nashville
2016: Nashville
2017: TBD
2018: TBD
2019: Nashville

Man, it’s a good decade to be a Cat fan in Nashville, as the city is scheduled to host the tournament at least four times in the next eight years. What makes a good SEC Tournament host city? Here’s the criteria I’ve come up with:

– Central location to all schools
– Proper arena/facility
– Lots of hotels near arena
– Lots of bars/restaurants near arena
– Potentially the same site as the Final Four the same year (Atlanta in 2002 and 2007, New Orleans in 2012)
– Lively downtown area
– Plenty of tourist attractions
– Proven track record hosting large sporting events

According to this, let’s examine the future SEC Tournament sites:

New Orleans (2012)
New Orleans Arena (capacity-18,500)
Sadly, I’ve never been to Nawlins, but man, what a reason to go! New Orleans is a win-win situation for fans: beautiful city, plenty of tourist attractions, fun nightlife, and of course, awesome basketball. From what I’ve heard, New Orleans has a charm and mystique that is unparalleled amongst American cities. I’m almost as excited about the city as I am the tournament, which I can’t say about all the sites on the list (cough, Atlanta). Plus, with the super team Cal has put together for 2011-2012, the city will be absolutely brimming with Cat fans. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Nashville (2010, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019)
Bridgestone Arena (capacity-19,395)
Okay, I’m biased–I love Nashville. I live maybe a mile from the arena. But if the 2010 Tournament was any indication, swarms of Cat fans agree. That tournament was unlike any sporting event I’ve attended in terms of complete UK dominance–both on and off the court. Nashville is a perfect host city, with Bridgestone Arena (albeit smaller than the Georgia Dome) right next door to some of the best restaurants and nightlife in the South. Nashville’s downtown is built for conventions, and is small enough to walk around comfortably. Plus, it’s a mere 30 minutes from the Kentucky border, or an easy ride down I-65 from Louisville and Lexington. For schools other than Kentucky (pfft), it’s at the intersection of three major interstates (I-65, I-40, and I-24). It’s easy to see why the SEC wants to keep the tournament here for years to come.

(C)Atlanta (2011, 2014)
Georgia Dome (capacity-26,000+)
“Catlanta” has been a comfortable home for Cat fans for years. Atlanta is the biggest city in the South, rich in history, culture, nightlife, and sports (plus, they’ve got an IKEA). They are literally pros at sporting events, since they have three professional sports teams (the Thrashers are kaput, right?). However, some basketball fans don’t like the shooting atmosphere in a dome. Yet, the SEC is clearly exploring other cities and venues…have they “been there done that” with Atlanta or is the ACC, who is hosting their tournament there in 2012, trying to their foot in the Georgia Dome door?

Now, KSR readers, I turn it over to you–what makes a good SEC Tournament city? Which has been your favorite so far and which do you look forward to in the future?

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

54 Comments for Ideal city to host the SEC Tournament?

  1. tdogg4033011
    8:40 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    I’ve been to CATlanta several times, always had a blast. 20,000 UK fans, beer & basketball
    how could ya go wrong??

  2. Manbearpig
    8:40 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    I’m biased towards Nashville because I love the city plus it’s not that far of a drive for KY fans, but then again we are always everywhere!

  3. Dave in Asskrakistan
    8:48 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink


  4. Parsons Is Still Gay
    8:48 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    Nashville blows…..too much orange and nothing sucks like a big orange. Need Texas A&M to join the SEC so we can go to Dallas.

  5. LargoGato
    8:55 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    Put it in Louisville at the YUM center. We would paint that town blue and piss ’em off at the same time.

  6. ReasonableUKFAN
    8:56 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    I was in “CATlanta” during the tornado…not fun

  7. W
    8:56 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    CATlanta, dont be stupid and say nashville

  8. catfan
    9:01 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    “Catlanta without the tornado” LOL

  9. 49 chevy
    9:04 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink


  10. lee
    9:09 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    neworleans is a really fun place,but stay in the frech quarter to really see the city.

  11. Yesterdays
    9:10 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    We sat in the 15th row in ATL for 65 dollars every game. Nashville tix two yrs ago were 150 to sit upper, upper deck. For that reason alone, ATL. Plus its so spread out that you see people who arent UK fans. Tampa would be perfect if not for the flight down there. That place is underrated.

  12. Thomas goodaker
    9:15 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    New Orleans by far, plenty of hotels, great food, and nightlife within walking distance of New Orleans Arena! Great mystique surrounds the city and cafe du monde is the best. I have been to several sec tourneys and final fours, but New Orleans is tops!

  13. Drew Anderson
    9:17 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    I believe the tournament this year in New Orleans will be great with our “new” team! Nawlins has always been a great tournament town from my memory, no shortage of wonderful things to do there. Kicking butt is our business… and business is GOOD! Big Blue

  14. Catlanta
    9:28 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    Tough to beat Catlanta, always have a great time when I make that trip. Only problem is the millions of homeless dudes who bug the sh!t out of you.

  15. UKneedsGeographyclass
    9:32 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    Yeah…Texas A&M is in College Station, TX. Outside of Houston.

  16. Blue Virus
    9:34 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    Lexington, KY USA. Rupp Arena 24K+

  17. kyhoopnsc
    9:35 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    New Orleans in 03 was the best. Great time. This year will be different with it in Orleans Arena though, much harder ticket to get.

  18. Big Blue 66
    9:41 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    Nawlins will be awesome,just keep putting the SEC tourney in whatever city has the final four… know, so our guys will always know where the locker room is and stuff

  19. Trashville
    9:42 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    Nashville blows. No character, like a Country Disneyland. Tickets cost too much on the street.

  20. Nashville_CAT
    9:48 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    A mile from home…. Nashville is the spot!

  21. Jay
    9:51 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    I’m not gonna lie. I’ve only been to Catlanta and Nashville for the Tournament, but Nashville was BY FAR the best time I had in the city. That bar strip with live music jam-packed with UK fans made for an amazing atmosphere. Plus the absolute beating we put on tennessee, along with the dramatic victory over MSU in the championship game sure helped the cause.

  22. sillybstrd027
    9:52 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    keep it in catlanta but put it in phillips arena instead of the dome.

  23. donny
    9:57 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    Excited about Nola, catampa was different. Memphis? Gross!

  24. willie
    10:06 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    LOUISVILLE. Home court advantage.

  25. rc
    10:12 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    I enjoyed Tampa. Only problem is the distance to get there.

  26. Abcdefg
    10:12 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    Atlanta is by far the best but what about Orlando?

  27. Football Man
    10:21 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    Birmingham, so I can stay w/relatives. Why not Yum Yum eat’em up. N.O. in Lsu’s state, Nash. in V’s state & Tn. , Catlanta in Ga’s state. Ky needs to get some close travel love…..

  28. mike
    10:21 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    CATlanta, CATville, or BLUEorleans…. it wont matter. BBN will be there

  29. Wildcat Willie say
    10:51 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    New Orleans is one of the four unique cities in the US. The other three are New York, Boston and San Francisco. I’ve been to all four. I’ve been to the SEC Tourney in Lexington(we lost to Alabama), Memphis, Nashville, Catlanta, New Orleans and Tampa. New Orleans the best in my opinion. I’ll be there in 2012. Nashville too close, tickets too high. Catlanta is a great place.

  30. Big Dog
    10:57 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    Nashville is the new Catville where you can party like boogie, dance the John Wall, and cat fans can dominate the scene. God I love this school. Go Cats!!!!!!!

  31. bluesweat
    11:13 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    Harrogate, TN at Tex Turner arena. You got the Oasis, CRS, the Loose Caboose you know what I’m talkin’bout Jones.

  32. chad
    11:33 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    Reds!!!! Win over the Braves in walkoff fashion. Should go over well on the KSR baseball trip!

  33. hahaha
    11:36 pm July 24, 2011 Permalink

    How about in Harlan, ky at the Harlan High school gym? Seats about 500 or so!!!

  34. Bg Cat
    2:54 am July 25, 2011 Permalink

    I Hear Ya Chad. Cant Wait To Hear If Matt Stayed For The Whole Game And What He Thought About The Reds Ruining His Baseball Marathon Finale Against His Boys.

  35. Dave
    3:55 am July 25, 2011 Permalink




  36. MTW
    5:45 am July 25, 2011 Permalink

    wherever the most sluts are.

  37. TampaCat
    6:21 am July 25, 2011 Permalink

    Tampa Lightning owners are pumping in a $40 million dollar renovation to the St. Petersburg Times Forum as we speak. It will be very Fan friendly and much more “opened up” and modern. We welcome the BBN and the rest of the SEC every year! You ca’t tell me you would pick any of those other Cities over Tampa. Go Cats!

  38. union14
    6:24 am July 25, 2011 Permalink


  39. Steven from Tampa
    7:26 am July 25, 2011 Permalink

    Def give Tampa a shot every few years. We have attractions, beaches, and great weather during the timeframe of the tourney. No snow for hundreds of miles. As Tampacat said they are putting 40 million into renovating the forum so should make it extra nice. Come on bbn drive or fly on down so we can embarrass the gator fans as least every few years.

  40. Steven from Tampa
    7:27 am July 25, 2011 Permalink


  41. Glenridge
    8:02 am July 25, 2011 Permalink

    The SEC is stupid to back off Atlanta. It proves they don’t support basketball, since they are upset when the arena is empty for the early rounds; and they do nothing to improve the lower half of the league. The ACC will fill the place up during the tournament, and will take it over permanently. The SEC will relegated to smaller arenas, higher ticket prices and creating a scalpers market. Who does that help?

  42. Just saying
    8:04 am July 25, 2011 Permalink

    nashville rocks!! However if you want to actually see a game youre out of luck. The arena is to small, and ticket prices are outrageous. I didnt really like Atlanta that much last year as far as the environment, but tickets were easy to get and if the FF is gonna be in a dome, I think its better for UK to play in one before the NCAAT. We struggled against Ole Miss in the Georgia Dome last year, and it showed again when we got to the FF. The more tournament games in a dome, the better

  43. Dale in Orlando
    8:16 am July 25, 2011 Permalink

    Let’s go to Orlando. Amazing new arena. Cheap flights. Cheap hotels. We can turn it into Catlando. I forgot. We’ve got Daniel Orton and deandre liggins.

  44. OneAndDone
    9:02 am July 25, 2011 Permalink

    Blue Orleans is a hell of a time. I was down there the last time it was there and it was all Blue. Kentucky fans took over “The Cats Meow” on Bourbon Street, Chuck Hayes and team were all over Bourbon Street shaking hands and kissing babies. Nashville is great too, but nothing tops Blue Orleans. Atlanta is fun but it is too spread out….the downtown nightlife sucks and it is a long cab to Buckhead.

  45. ThreeBux
    9:05 am July 25, 2011 Permalink

    LOVE Nashville but tickets to games are WAY too expensive….

  46. leroybyrd3
    9:54 am July 25, 2011 Permalink

    New Orleans: pretty good except for a couple of things: taxi service from French Quarter to Superdome price gouging, and reports of muggings outside Superdome. Otherwise great town, great fun, terrific food.

    Atlanta: Good except for arena shooting. Cat fans turn out in droves. Many tickets available for games.

    Nashville: Okay. Small arena means fewer tickets, scalpers gouging prices. Parking is horrible, again, price gouging. Metro sports council tiered seating for games- very expensive. Otherwise, close to home for many, good shooting arena.

  47. Jones Returns
    9:58 am July 25, 2011 Permalink


  48. Deacon
    11:40 am July 25, 2011 Permalink

    Personally, I would like to see the SEC at the YUM CENTER! Lots of hotel rooms, great entertainment, good restaurants and you never have to get in the car! All within walking distance. Wouldn’t the Card fans love that !

  49. Swoony
    12:05 pm July 25, 2011 Permalink

    LOUISVILLE…imagine how RED the fans would get seeing all the BLUE taking over the YUM! Center! It really is a great arena and deserves a great team to play b-ball there. Sad thing is that Jurich is too jaded to take the $ and Pitino would never let it happen.

  50. yep
    12:21 pm July 25, 2011 Permalink

    New Orleans!

  51. BCO
    12:59 pm July 25, 2011 Permalink

    31) Charlie Bob will be out there scalping tickets and flashing his wang to people.

  52. CatsFanInFL
    2:04 pm July 25, 2011 Permalink

    Tampa cause its close to me! My second choice is Catlanta because ticket prices stay low with so many seats!

  53. WildWillyG
    3:46 pm July 25, 2011 Permalink

    the Big Easy- Hands Down- I got my Tix! Otherwise I would rather be in Lex. to celebrate. Nothing is like raging it up in New Orleans with the Big Blue. One of the most unique city’s in the US and the World. (The thread above listing top four most unique city’s in the US- don’t forget Miami Beach!). You learn more about the great potential of the city of NO everytime you go. Eat at Jaquimos, Party on Frenchmen Street, and tune your hotel radio to 90.7 WWOZ!! Go Blue! Matt, I’ll show you the ropes! Mugging outside the SuperDome??, c’mon, their will be tons of police protecting their valuable tourist Industry…Dont wander off to buy crack in your UK Jersey, stay in the tourist areas, as for all major city’s your not familiar with.

  54. Tokyo Satchel
    5:00 am July 26, 2011 Permalink

    New Orleans is the best, but be careful where you park or you might get your parents’ van stolen and be stuck in the city for nearly a week. I’m not sure how I remember that trip, but it might have been the best week of my life.