Council approval greenlights Pac-12 championships at Maverik Center
Oct 16, 2018 02:34PM
● By Jana Klopsch
The University of Utah women’s gymnastics team will compete at the Pac-12 Women’s Gymnastics Championships at the Maverik Center in West Valley City the next three years. (Photo by Bryan Byerly)
By Travis Barton | [email protected]
The final key for the Maverik Center to host the Pac-12 Women’s Gymnastics Championships on a three-year deal passed in late September when the West Valley City Council unanimously approved the purchase of certain gymnastics equipment and a podium floor.
“I’m excited to see these events come to West Valley City,” said Councilman Steve Buhler just before the council vote on Sept. 25.
The day after city officials authorized the purchase, the Pac-12 and Maverik Center officially announced its partnership to host the 2019, 2020 and 2021 conference gymnastics championships.
“The Pac-12 is thrilled to bring one of our premiere events to the Salt Lake Valley,” said Pac-12 Senior Associate Commissioner, Sports Management Teresa Gould in a release. “With a rich tradition of excellence across the sport and a strong following among Utah’s community, we look forward to this showcase featuring some of the top gymnasts in the world competing at the Maverik Center.”
Kevin Bruger, Maverik Center general manager, said the system of equipment they are purchasing, for just under $110,000, would be the third in the country—USA gymnastics and a company who produces the Southeastern Conference gymnastics championships are the other two.
“This is the Pac-12 and the University of Utah wanting to keep up with the Joneses, if you will,” Bruger told the city council during study session in September. “The SEC has some perennial powers and are going to their conference meet on a podium,” while the University of Utah had to go to Reno last year to practice on a podium being done for a youth event to get experience prior to the national meet.
Hosting the event in West Valley City provides a neutral site for the championships while keeping the event in the Salt Lake Valley, where not only did the Red Rocks, University of Utah’s gymnastics team, averaged 15,139 fans per meet last season, but many gymnastics gyms currently reside.
Having the equipment and podium floor in question, purchased from Bil-Jax, will also allow the Maverik Center to potentially host other large scale events in the future such as NCAA meets and national youth competitions.
Bruger said the University of Utah could also move some of their meets to the Maverik Center for an “ESPN-style meet” and to utilize the “special equipment to prepare for the NCAA meet.”
“It’s something we’re very excited about and very bullish on,” Bruger said.
Mayor Ron Bigelow felt the old adage, “if you want to make money you have to spend money,” applied to this situation.
“This is a situation where in order to draw in those additional revenues, this is the price tag up front,” he said. “In the long run it should pay off well…It’s more of an investment for the future.”
The first Pac-12 gymnastics championships at the Maverik Center (3200 South Decker Lake Drive) will take place March 23, 2019.