Pensacola Sports snags Sun Belt championships

The Sun Belt Conference announced today that the city of Pensacola, Fla., has been selected to host the 2021-25 Sun Belt Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships as a part of the league’s partnership with Pensacola Sports, in collaboration with the Pensacola Bay Center, Pensacola State College and Visit Pensacola.

Over the five-year agreement, the conference is set to return to 12-team formats for both men’s and women’s tournaments. The 2021 Sun Belt Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships are scheduled for March 5-8, with first-round and second-round games played simultaneously at the Pensacola Bay Center and Hartsell Arena on the campus of Pensacola State College, and semifinal and championship games played at the Bay Center. Both championship games are slated for live coverage with the women’s final on ESPNU and the men’s final on ESPN or ESPN2.

“To build on the rich basketball history across our men’s and women’s programs in the Sun Belt, it was important to find a home for our championships where we could grow and create new traditions for our entire membership,” said Sun Belt Commissioner Keith Gill. “Pensacola is an energized community that has embraced our conference and already is a premier destination for Sun Belt fans and alumni.”

“We are excited to roll out the red carpet for the entire Sun Belt family and create memorable championship experiences for all,” said Pensacola Sports President/CEO Ray Palmer. “With the staggering number of world-class athletes and champions who call Pensacola home, hosting the Sun Belt Basketball Championships is a great opportunity to showcase our City of Champions.”

The conference is taking its men’s championship to the Sunshine State for the first time, while the women’s championship makes a return for the first time since the 1988 tournament was played at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla.

Pensacola was selected from a bid process managed by the Sun Belt office and a review process voted on and approved by the league’s Presidents and Chancellors and Directors of Athletics.

Current members of the Sun Belt Conference:

Appalachian State University
Arkansas State University
Coastal Carolina University
Georgia Southern University
Georgia State University
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
University of Louisiana
University of Louisiana at Monroe
University of South Alabama
Texas State University
University of Texas at Arlington
Troy University