Summit League Tournament Makes Its 2017 Return
New "Fanfest" Tries To Make Tournament A Weekend Experience
SIOUX FALLS, S.D.—College basketball tournament time is upon us.
The Denny Sanford Premier Center is gearing up to host the Summit League Men’s and Women’s Basketball tournament for the third straight year.
General Manager Terry Torkildson said they’ve grown more comfortable in getting the big event prepared.
“We know what the other one wants so there’s still a lot of communication that goes back and forth, a lot of meetings, a lot of pre-planning but it’s just become one of our basic sets even though it is kind of complex,” said Torkildson.
Last year, the men’s and women’s tournament broke several attendance records, including total weekend attendance.
Despite those totals, the event looks to try and bring more newcomers in 2017.
For the first time, the Sioux Falls Arena will host a “Fanfest” for families who may not be there for a specific team or if a fan’s team is no longer in the tournament.
Sioux Falls Sports Authority Executive Director Bryan Miller said they are trying to make the tournament a weekend event.
“We’re always having new people move into the city. They’re maybe not always aware of the local schools, they may not be fans of the local schools but they want to come out and watch basketball at a high level. That’s what we’re trying to do, keep the throttle down and keep on improving on anything we can,” said Miller.
The free Fanfest is built for fans ages 15 and under to get overtime action from the main hardwood.
“They’ll have an opportunity to interact with the mascots, with the cheerleaders. It’ll be kind of a Final Four experience, maybe a smaller version of the Final Four experience,” said Miller.
The Fanfest is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
The Sioux Falls Sports Authority says there are still tickets for the tournament.
They say you can buy them online using TicketMaster or go to the Premier Center box office.