AIA to use USA Basketball's site as permanent playoff home
Originally published: Jul 31, 2013 - 12:00 am
The Arizona Interscholastic Association is planning to use USA Basketball's future headquarters in Tempe as the permanent postseason home for almost every indoor sport the AIA governs.
USA Basketball made its announcement Wednesday about moving to Tempe in 2015, when its 4,500-seat event center will open. Scheduling its indoor postseason games at one location finally gives the AIA and its member schools the playoff scheduling flexibility they have long sought.
Using the event center will also help the AIA cut its postseason costs since it won't have to rent some of Arizona's indoor facilities as much as it does now. The rental terms between the AIA and USA Basketball haven't been finalized yet, said Chuck Schmidt, the AIA's associate executive director.
When the AIA starts using the Tempe events center, it'll likely become the first high school sports state association in the nation that'll permantly host various indoor playoff games at one centralized location.
"We're very excited to have a permanent home where we can host our events," Schmidt said. "Being able to share a home court with USA Basketball will be a remarkable experience for our kids."
The future playoff home for the AIA should be ready to use by the spring of 2015 and will be located at the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and University Drive.
Besides using it for playoff games, the AIA also is planning to host Game of the Week type of events and to train officials at the Tempe site. Since some of the AIA's playoff events attract large crowds, the AIA will continue to use some of the indoor venues it currently rents after USA Basketball's new home is built.
The Tempe events center will house five full basketball courts and two half courts. The developer of USA Basketball's new home, USA Palace, also is planning to use 10.5 acres near Mill and University Drive to develop a 330-room Omni Hotel, 30,000 square foot conference center, 500 luxury apartments, and retail and office space on land Arizona State owns.
Since the early 2000s, Schmidt and one of the executives of USA Palace, Rob Harris, began working together when Harris was a vice president for the Phoenix Suns and the AIA used America West Arena to host playoff basketball games.
"Working with Rob and his team from USA Place has been a great experience and a valued partnership," Schmidt said. "We look forward to brining numerous state tournament and championship events to the new facility in Tempe."
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