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Originally published March 8, 2014 at 7:36 PM | Page modified March 9, 2014 at 12:46 AM

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Attendance down after first two days of 2nd year in Seattle

One year remains on the deal to have the event at KeyArena.


Seattle Times staff reporter

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Pac-12 tournament attendance at KeyArena for its opening two days is down 2,505 fans from its debut in 2013.

The total figure of 13,881 fans for a combined eight games split between four sessions is nearly double the average total attendance for all nine games when the event was held at Staples Center in Los Angeles from 2009 to 2012.

The Pac-12 women’s and men’s tournaments divided after the 2012 run, with the women signing a three-year deal to play in Seattle. The men’s tournament moved to Las Vegas, making its second run there this week.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott is attending the women’s tournament, which will crown its champion Sunday. He spoke with the media before the semifinal games. An assessment of the tournament’s placement in Seattle will be evaluated within the year to decide any possible contract extensions.

Scott said the parameters aren’t financial because the tournaments are not designed for profit. “It’s an investment,” he said. Still, there’s a tournament experience standard he expects to be equal between men and women.

The men’s tournament is well attended, and Scott mentioned a buzz for its return to Las Vegas. The women’s tournament could see a boost this weekend with two Northwest schools still playing Saturday in Washington State and Oregon State. Both schools had a lot of fans attend, attributing to the 4,396 fans at the evening session on Friday – a tournament high.

Notes

• Pac-12 tournament staff was mopping up rain dripping in from the northwest KeyArena rafters.

“KeyArena staff determined that the water was coming from an indeterminate leak in the roof, which could not be repaired before or during play,” the Pac-12 said in a statement. “Together with our game officials, we determined that the water droppings were not a safety hazard for the student-athelets.”

• Four BCS conferences are hosting women’s basketball tournaments this weekend, including the Pac-12. But WNBA scouts are mainly at the SEC, ACC and Big Ten tournaments, according to reports.

The disparity shouldn’t be a concern. The Pac-12 had 17 players on WNBA rosters in 2013 and while Stanford All-American Chiney Ogwumike is likely the only first-round pick from the Pac-12 in April’s draft, UCLA’s incoming recruiting class ranks among the best in the nation and every team has a top sophomore or freshman due to return next year.

Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067

or jevans@seattletimes.com.



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