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September 22, 2009
Arena glut watch: No NCAAs for Wichita
Another cautionary tale about the promises made by stadium and arena seekers: After spending $205 million to build a new arena, in part to have a shot at hosting a share of the NCAA basketball tournament, the city of Wichita has been told that it won't get one before 2014 at the earliest. And the explanation, while meant to be reassuring, isn't exactly:
"There was nothing wrong with Wichita's bid," [NCAA men's basketball associate director David Worlock] said. "We just ran out of slots. We don't want people to be discouraged by the announcement today. It's ultra-competitive, especially in the Midwest."
Of course, it's entirely possible that Wichita will land a round of the NCAAs one of these years. But with Tulsa, Kansas City, Omaha (all of which landed parts of future tourneys), Oklahoma City, and Des Moines (which didn't) all boasting new arenas as well, it's likely to remain a rare enough event to wonder if it was really worth $205 million to have a shot at it. Though I guess Wichita Thunder fans will be happy about getting new digs ... sort of.