KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced on Friday a new four-year agreement to ensure men’s basketball champions continue to be crowned at historic Municipal Auditorium. Kansas City, the Heart of America Athletic Conference and the NAIA have entered into a new agreement that will keep the men’s basketball championship in Kansas City through 2024.
The agreement, which will be the first men’s basketball national championship after NAIA Divisions I and II merge, will run for four years from 2021 thru 2024 and will be played at historic Municipal Auditorium in downtown Kansas City.
“The longest-running event in college basketball belongs in Kansas City, the College Basketball Capital of America,” said Jason Fulvi, President and CEO of Visit KC. “On behalf of the regional hospitality and tourism community, it’s our pleasure to congratulate the NAIA on extending its stay in Kansas City. We appreciate our partnership and look forward to welcoming its student-athletes, fans and officials to KC through 2024.” Said Jason Fulvi, President and CEO of Visit KC.
With the merge, comes a new format as the championship will move from a 32-team field to 16 teams at the final site. In total, 64 teams will qualify for the NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship with each playing in 16, four-team opening round tournaments. The winners of each will comprise the 16-team field heading to Kansas City.
“Kansas City could not be more excited and honored to continue hosting the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Championships,” said Kansas City Mayor Sly James. “The NAIA is a great organization that provides incredible opportunities for thousands of student athletes, and we are grateful for their partnership. Kansas City is home to some of the best sports fans in the country, and we’re happy to have the opportunity to continue supporting this important event.”
Visit KC estimates that the NAIA Men’s Basketball Championship brings a $3 million annual impact to Kansas City. The event is considered a “citywide convention” by the association, due to the number of hotel rooms used. Unlike other conventions, Kansas City has the unique opportunity to host the event annually.
“We are thrilled that the NAIA Men’s Basketball Championship will continue to call Kansas City home for the foreseeable future,” said NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr. “Kansas City is integral to the history of this tournament. The NAIA coaches, players, and fans have all witnessed amazing basketball moments at Municipal Auditorium and there are many more to come. A special thank you to Visit KC, the Heart of America Athletic Conference, and the city for their dedication to continuing this partnership.”