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Sun Belt Conference basketball tournament to leave Hot Springs

By David Harten

This article was published February 5, 2013 at 11:43 a.m.

arkansas-little-rocks-taylor-ford-center-hugs-teammate-taylor-gault-left-as-teammate-kiera-clark-4-wipes-her-eye-after-the-team-defeated-middle-tennessee-71-70-in-overtime-in-the-sun-belt-conference-tournament-final-at-summit-arena-in-march-the-conference-announces-tuesday-that-the-tournament-will-be-moving-from-hot-springs-to-lakefront-arena-in-new-orleans-beginning-in-2013

Arkansas-Little Rock's Taylor Ford, center, hugs teammate Taylor Gault, left, as teammate Kiera Clark (4) wipes her eye after the team defeated Middle Tennessee 71-70 in overtime in the Sun Belt Conference tournament final at Summit Arena in March. The conference announces Tuesday that the tournament will be moving from Hot Springs to Lakefront Arena in New Orleans beginning in 2013.

The Sun Belt Conference announced Tuesday morning that the men's and women's basketball tournaments will leave Hot Springs after this year and relocate to New Orleans.

The conference will buy out of its final year of its current contract with the Hot Springs Convention Center.

The announcement came via the conference's website.

“The city of Hot Springs and the Hot Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau have been terrific for the Sun Belt Conference,” said Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson said in a release. “When Hot Springs began hosting the tournament in 2009 it was the first neutral site that the Sun Belt had used in over twenty years. The leadership of Steve Arrison and his staff made the existence of a neutral site basketball tournament for the Sun Belt possible.”

The tournament had been hosted at Summit Arena in the Hot Springs Convention Center since 2009.

"We have had a great partnership with the Sun Belt Conference over the past five years and are looking forward to a great tournament come March,” Hot Spring Convention and Visitors Bureau Chief Executive Officer Steve Arrison said in the release. “We originally had only a three-year deal with the Sun Belt and are fortunate that next month we will have had five outstanding Sun Belt tournaments here in Hot Springs.”

The 2013 tournament is still set for March 8-11 in Hot Springs.

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