LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — In just the past couple of weeks, Nevada has lifted restrictions on large gatherings, allowing thousands of fans to attend Vegas Golden Knights games and NASCAR Weekend at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
This week, Las Vegas is “college basketball central," with five different conference tournaments hosted at four different arenas.
The Big West Conference tournament will take place at Mandalay Bay, the Mountain West Conference tournament at the Thomas and Mack Center, the Pac-12 Tournament at T-Mobile Arena, and both the Western Athletic Conference and West Coast Conference tournaments will be played at the Orleans Arena.
But, don't expect to be able to watch any of those games in-person. None of the five conference tournaments will allow fans to purchase tickets to attend conference tournament games.
It's a stark difference compared to conference tournaments in past years in Las Vegas. These tournaments are usually a big draw for fans, with different fan experiences and many conference tournament games selling out.
Danette Leighton, the chief marketing officer for the Pac-12 Conference, says there will be some fans in attendance for those games at T-Mobile Arena, but only the friends and family members of the players and coaches.
"We were excited that when we came here," said Leighton. "Las Vegas had opened up a bit more and allowed us to do that."
"Each team will have a maximum of 100 family guests in the building for their games," she explained. "We felt pretty strongly that it was important to allow for families to have a chance to see their student-athletes and that’s where we wanted to make sure they had that opportunity."
Leighton also says conferences had the chance to submit safety proposals to the Nevada officials to have more fans attend these games in-person but chose not to in an effort to keep these student-athletes as safe as possible leading up to the big dance.