An Oklahoma City event sponsorship committee is distributing more funds for Big 12 Conference events this year than in the past.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau’s event sponsorship committee on Feb. 1 approved an increase in subsidies for Big 12 women’s basketball to help with marketing and to boost the city’s image, the Journal Record reported.

The Big 12 softball championship will also receive more money to bring in new bleachers at the USA Softball Hall of Fame complex.

The committee agreed to distribute a total of $195,000 for Big 12 women’s basketball, women’s softball, and men’s baseball tournaments. The committee approved allocating $65,000 in sponsorship money for each tournament.

The three events received a combined $108,000 in 2018. The city’s hotel/motel tax feeds the committee’s fund. The applicant doesn’t receive the money until after the event. One of the factors in allocating money is the anticipated room nights. The funding can’t be granted if the expected crowd doesn’t show up for the event.

Sue Hollenbeck, the Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Sports Business Director, said the Big 12 has an objective to increase basketball ticket sales by 25 percent. There will be around $25,000 spent on promoting the tournament to help meet that goal. She noted residents have told her that they didn’t even know the tournament was here.

This is the last year under the current agreement that the city will host Big 12 women’s basketball, which is slated for March 8 to March 11. The event relocates to Kansas City, Missouri, in 2020.

Hollenbeck asserted Oklahoma City still benefits from allotting the money, even though the tournament is leaving.

“It’s important to show the Big 12 that we’re not only capable, but that we’ll exceed their expectations,” Hollenbeck said.


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