MORRISON — The state basketball tournaments will each be held at new sites this spring, including a move to the Denver Coliseum.
CHSAA's Board of Directors approved a motion to adopt the new sites at its meeting on Wednesday. The result is a change of venue for each classification in boys and girls basketball for their Great 8 rounds and beyond.
The new sites which have been approved are:
- 4A/5A: Denver Coliseum
- 3A: University of Denver
- 2A: Budweiser Events Center, Loveland
- 1A: University of Northern Colorado, Greeley
In addition, the 1A and 2A state championship games will be played together at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland on the Saturday.
The changes will significantly reduce costs across the board, according to CHSAA assistant commissioner Bert Borgmann, who administers basketball. There is also a hope that attendance at each tournament also increase.
"Our goal with all of the changes is to provide greater opportunities for people to attend and enjoy one of Colorado's top sporting events," Borgmann said.
The Class 4A and 5A boys and girls tournaments will continue to have their Great 8 rounds at the Denver Coliseum, as they have for a number of years now. Now, those classes will remain at the historic venue for the Final 4 and championship rounds for the foreseeable future.
The 4A and 5A tournaments have had their Final 4 and championship rounds at the University of Colorado in Boulder since the early 2000s, but rising costs were a concern.
"This is not a reflection of anybody at CU, or the athletic administration," Borgmann said. "In fact, they have bent over backwards to try and make this an affordable facility for us. Unfortunately, cost increase for both CU and CHSAA keep rising, making it difficult to remain there."
Additionally, there was a desire to bring the tournaments back to the Denver area, Borgmann said.
"We're going to be at capacity in the Coliseum, and I think that's a good thing," Borgmann said. "That arena is going to be packed, and it's going to be a great atmosphere."
"When I talked to the 4A and 5A coaches in the summer, they love to play there," he added.
There is a plan to work on timing of games at the 4A/5A tournaments, to help space out the arrival and departure of fans. The Coliseum has a capacity of 9,950 fans, compared to 11,064 at Coors Events Center.
Last season, roughly 8,600 fans attended the Saturday which featured four 4A and 5A championship games. There is an anticipation that the attendance will exceed that with a return to the Metro area.
The Coliseum has a long history of hosting CHSAA events, including state basketball, but also state events in volleyball, hockey and spirit.
The 3A tournaments will move to the University of Denver's Hamilton Gym for at least the next two seasons. They were held at the Coliseum last season, and at the Colorado School of Mines the year before. Those 3A tournaments have also been held at the Air Force Academy and Colorado State University in the recent past.
Having three classifications in the Denver metro area also allows for more overlap for fans who would want to attend multiple tournaments, Borgmann said.
That also applies to the 2A and 1A tournaments, which will now both be in close proximity and have their championship games at the same site.
"There are a lot of general high school basketball fans in Colorado, and the want to see as many classifications as they can," Borgmann said. "We think this will at least allow for some of those fans to do that."
The 2A event will move from CSU-Pueblo to Loveland's Budweiser Events Center. The Events Center has previously served as the host of the 1A tournament, as well as the state hockey finals.
One reason for the move from CSU-Pueblo, Borgmann said, was because "the 2A tournament has outgrown that facility."
"We've enjoyed our association with CSU-Pueblo, they have been very gracious and great hosts," Borgmann said.
The 1A tournaments is set to move north to the University of Northern Colorado for their Great 8 and Final 4 rounds. The championship games will be in Loveland with 2A.
"By bringing 1A and 2A together, we now have two facilities that draw similar crowds and create a better competitive environment for both classes," Borgmann said.
A number of other venues around the state were considered for each tournament, including sites in Pueblo, Colorado Springs and the Denver metro area.
All five sites will be reevaluated prior to the 2018-20 two-year cycle, Borgmann said.