1. Hey, Grandpa Slive
With only 120 miles separating St. Louis, Missouri from Columbia, Missouri, it is easy to see why the St. Louis market continues to be one of the top Mizzou Athletics fan bases in the country. Events like Sunday's SEC Summit are just one of many exciting opportunities each year that gives St. Louis Mizzou fans a chance to show their Tiger pride.
Consistent and strong outpouring of support from the St. Louis market has certainly gotten the attention from commissioner Slive and the rest of the SEC staff. The strong relationship between St. Louis, Mizzou and the SEC continues to grow day-by-day.
"We are delighted to have them (St. Louis) as a market," said Slive. "Last week at our spring meetings in Destin, Florida we announced that St. Louis will host the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament in 2018. We are very excited about that. I want to give a lot of credit to Frank Viverito (President of the St. Louis Sports Commission) and his staff as they persuaded our people that St. Louis is the place to come to. I am delighted for the city and being able to come back here."
"We're over two months away from launch, and we have national distribution for our network," Slive said. "I don't think any other network of this kind has had that kind of distribution this early in its existence. [...]
The additions of Missouri and Texas A&M in 2012 were major events in the timeline of the SEC launching the channel, Slive said. He wouldn't estimate how much money the network could mean for SEC schools, but he reiterated that it will televise more than 1,000 live sporting events within its first year — including 45 football games in the fall — and original programming from each school.
"Mizzou now has the best platform it's ever had to tell the world about our history, our traditions, our excellence in education, research and service," Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin told the crowd yesterday.
Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive, who was also in attendance at the SEC picnic, said he is not concerned about Haith and former Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin — who left for California this spring — leaving the conference to head what some consider less glamorous programs.
"Everybody has their own dreams and aspirations," Slive said. "What you saw this postseason (where three SEC teams made the Elite Eight) is what the future of SEC men's basketball is going to look like."
The SEC, of course, is already a football behemoth. And there's no telling how much power it might yield.
Q: Your impressions of how the Mizzou fanbase has embraced this league over the last two years?
Slive: "It's been great. It's really been great. I think one of the things we said when we first came together, one of the three or four things that made Mizzou special was the fact that they had great fans and we have great fans in our league. Nothing has changed. It's been a terrific experience so far. We're delighted that Chancellor Loftin is here. We tried to keep him in the SEC if we could so we're glad about that. He knows the league and, of course, I've known Mike (Alden) for a long time so it's gone very smoothly." [...]
Q: The first two years that the two teams from the Big 12 came into this league, you seem to have gone out of your way not to treat them like newcomers.
Slive: "That's one of the things I'm really proud of our league. Our presidents and chancellors said if you're in our league, from the day you're in our league, you are in our league. You are full members financially, schedule-wise and every which way. You may remember two years ago we worked hard to make sure that both A&M and Mizzou had an exciting home football game to open the season. Georgia was here for that game. We've treated them just as if they've been here for 25 years from day one and that's a hallmark of this league. The cynics can say what they want to say, but this is a family and you feel it every day."
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