Southland to hold basketball conference championships in Lake Charles through 2029

Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 2:59 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Southland Conference announced Tuesday that the men’s and women’s basketball conference championships will be held in Lake Charles through 2029.

In 2023, the Southland Conference men’s and women’s basketball tournaments at McNeese’s Legacy Center brought in a record-breaking economic impact of $5.3 million on the Lake Charles community in 14 days.

While the basketball tournaments will be held at the Legacy Center through 2029, extending the previous contract which was set to expire following the 2026 tournaments, the conference baseball, and softball tournaments, which were also held at McNeese in 2023, will be moved to Hammond, Louisiana, where Southeastern Louisiana will be the host for at least the 2024 season.

“Extending the Southland Basketball Championships through 2029 in Lake Charles and returning to Hammond, 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,” said Southland Commissioner Chris Grant via a press release on Tuesday.

Aside from the record-breaking economic impact of having the tournaments in Lake Charles in 2023, Commissioner Grant also talked about the fact that Lake Charles is a centralized location for the Southland Conference, making it a no-brainer to hold conference events.

“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,” said Grant.

Per the Southland Conference’s press release on Tuesday, 43% of the attendees for March’s tournaments at the Legacy Center were non-Louisiana residents who traveled for the event. The $5.3 million impact on the Lake Charles community was the highest spending recorded in conference history for a single destination hosting multiple championships in the same academic year.

McNeese is set to host a press conference on Wednesday morning with Director of Athletics Heath Schroyer, Head Men’s Basketball Coach Will Wade, and Southland Conference Commissioner Chris Grant.