March Madness descends on Downtown; Street closures begin today
March Madness descends on Downtown; Street closures begin today

Downtown Kansas City will be the center of the collegiate basketball world over the next two weeks as Sprint Center and Municipal Auditorium play host to three tournaments — the Big 12 men, the NAIA men’s nationals, and the NCAA men’s nationals first round – stretching from Wednesday, March 13 to Sunday, March 24.

The big daddy is, of course, the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship will make its much-anticipated return to Downtown KC, Wednesday through Sunday. This is the 12th time in the conference’s 17-season history that Kansas City has hosted the Championship, more than any other city.Print

Click here to get a taste of March Madness — Downtown KC style.

The league’s 10 teams, including new competitors TCU and West Virginia, will compete in a single-elimination, nine-game format. The Championship winner will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Kansas City has been selected as the host city through 2016. For more information about the Championship, visit the Official Fan Information Site.

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) will hold its 76th Annual Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship in Municipal Auditorium, beginning Wednesday and running through Tuesday, March 19. Thirty-two teams from across the country will compete in the single-elimination championship for the NAIA Division I men’s title.

The NAIA event is the longest-running national collegiate championship of any sport in the country, attracting nearly 40,000 fans over its six-day stretch. This is the 50th time the tournament has been held at Municipal Auditorium (1937-1974, 2002-present).

Championship play is open to the public. All-tournament passes are $75 for general admission and $100 for reserved seating. Single-session tickets are available March 1. Tickets are available here or at the Municipal Auditorium Box Office.


The Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association (KCCVA) estimates the economic impact of the Big 12 and NAIA tournaments at $11.5 million. This is based on spending by the attendees and the organization.


Please be advised that fan fests and other Championship activities will close the following streets:

  • Grand Boulevard (between 13th Street and Truman Road): closed starting at 10 a.m. today through midnight on Sunday, March 17.
  • 14th Street (between Walnut Street and Grand Boulevard): closed starting at 10 a.m. today through midnight on Sunday, March 17.
  • Walnut Street (between 13th and 14th streets): closed starting at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 12, through midnight on Sunday, March 17.

In addition, Kansas City’s Inaugural Big 12 5K Fun Run and Family Stroll will close the following streets on Saturday, March 16, starting at 9 a.m. and lasting until the conclusion of the race (roughly 10:30 a.m.):

  • Grand Boulevard  (between Truman and Pershing roads)
  • 16th Street (between Broadway Street and Grand Boulevard)
  • Broadway Street (between 17th and 16th streets)
  • 17th Street (between Broadway Street and Baltimore Avenue)
  • Baltimore Avenue (between 17th Street and Southwest Boulevard)
  • Southwest Boulevard (between Broadway Street and Baltimore Avenue)
  • W. Pennway Street (between Southwest Boulevard and Pershing Road)
  • Pershing Road (between W. Pennway Street and Grand Boulevard)

Due to traffic congestion related to these closures, city officials encourage drivers to allow for extra time when traveling through downtown.


For a detailed map of available parking lots and garages, go to Downtown Parking Map. In an effort to ease traffic congestion downtown, locals and out-of-town visitors are encouraged to use the following convenient park-n-ride shuttle services.


Providing frequent service, the MAX will run every 10-15 minutes throughout the Championship. Sprint Center stops will be at 12th Street & Grand Boulevard (northbound buses) and at 11th Street & Grand Boulevard (southbound buses). For further information, visit the KCATA online or call the Regional Call Center at 816-221-0660, weekdays from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.


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