In three years of hosting the Southland Conference basketball tournament in Katy, the crowds have steadily increased. This past March when the Bearkats knocked off SFA in the championship game, it featured the largest attended championship game the Southland has had since moving back to a neutral court. In fact, this year's game had a larger crowd (3,573) than the previous two years in Katy combined (1,006 in 2008 and 2,531 in 2009).
Now the city of Katy wants to do its part to ensure the tournament is a success and continues to grow. The City of Katy is awarding a $110,000 grant to the Southland Conference to help fund promotional and operational costs of the 2011 college basketball tournament at the Merrell Center.
Council unanimously approved the Convention and Tourism Bureau application request during a regular meeting Monday night. The amount includes last year’s request of $65,000 for tourism-related advertising and promotion of the city, as well as an additional $45,000 for facility rental and operational cost.
“On the days they play, we actually get national coverage on ESPN, and that’s the only national thing we have in Katy,” city finance director Byron Hebert said. “Hotel money can be used to promote the city, and that’s probably the biggest stage we can do at this time.”
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