SWAC Football and Basketball Championships Headed to Houston
The football championship game will be held at Reliant Stadium (Above-Top), 2013-15, while the basketball tournament will be housed at the Toyota Center 2014-16. The 2013 Toyota SWAC Football Championship is scheduled for Saturday, December 7, while the basketball tournament is slated for March 11-15, 2014.
"We are grateful for our 13 year relationship with The City of Birmingham and Legion Field. I also want to thank Mayor William Bell and the City Council for their continued support", said Southwestern Athletic Conference Commissioner Duer Sharp.
Sharp also recognized the City of Garland (Texas) for hosting the basketball tournaments the past three seasons. "I would also be remised if I did not thank and acknowledge our fans and sponsors in Birmingham and Garland, much of our success was due to their contributions," said Sharp.
"We are looking forward to our partnership with the City of Houston, Toyota Center and Reliant Stadium. The opportunity to play in professional venues enhances the experience of not just student-athletes and our fans, which is our mission. I would like to thank our Council of Presidents and Chancellors who saw the vision and passed this recommendation unanimously ". Sharp also said, "now our next order of business is getting our fans to Houston to be a part of SWAC history".
“We are very excited about having the city of Houston as a showcase for the very best of competition for the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC)," said Dr. John M. Rudley, president, Texas Southern University in Houston. "Houston is of course, the venue for national and international competition as evidenced by the fact that it was recently announced that Houston will be the host city for the 2017 Super Bowl.”
When the 2017 Super Bowl comes to Houston, it will be the second time Reliant Stadium has hosted NFL's biggest game. In 2004, the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers played in Super Bowl XXXVIII. Reliant Stadium, which is the home of the NFL Houston Texans, opened in September of 2002 with a win by the Houston Texans and over the Dallas Cowboys. The 71,000-seat complex features the NFL’s first retractable roof and has hosted several major sporting events including the 2010 MLS All-Star game, the 2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball Super Regional, and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four in 2011.
“On behalf of the City of Houston and Harris County, we welcome the SWAC Championship games," said Janis Schmees Burke, Harris County – Houston Sports Authority CEO. "Our community appreciates the trust given to us in moving these championships to Houston, and we will ensure event goals are not only met, but exceeded."
The Toyota Center, located in downtown Houston, has 18,000 seats. Home to the NBA Houston Rockets, it too has hosted major events including two NBA All-Star games (2006 and 2013). Tad Brown, CEO of the Rockets expressed his excitement about hosting the SWAC tournament. “We are very proud to be hosting the SWAC basketball championships at Toyota Center," said Brown. "We know that the conference and its member institutions will find Toyota Center, our organization and the City of Houston tremendous hosts. We also look forward to elevating the SWAC tournament to become one of the premier events on the Houston sports calendar each year.”
Houston is the fourth largest city in the country. Named by Forbes Magazine as the "Coolest City in the Country”, the Bayou City, as it is nicknamed, recently surpassed New York City as the most international city in the U.S. The Greater Houston area, with its population over six million, is one of the fastest growing regions in the country.
“We are thrilled to bring the history and tradition of SWAC Football and Basketball to the City of Houston," said Annie Russell, Harris County – Houston Sports Authority Events Manager. "With our passionate sports fans and tremendous community support, these events will become great traditions in Houston.”