KHSAA: Girls Sweet Sixteen Leaving Bowling Green For New Enthusiasm

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- "It is disappointing but it's how things go."

A decision made by the KHSAA Tuesday took Bowling Green and Diddle Arena out of the picture for the Girls' Sweet Sixteen. The tournament is moving to the Bank Of Kentucky Center in 2016 as a way to bring a revitalization to the finals.

"More than anything, the discussion that the board had centered around, can we get an infusion of new enthusiasm by trying a different location," said KHSAA Commissioner, Julian Tackett.

That departure leaves an economic hole in Bowling Green.

"It's probably 1,500 to 3,000 room nights that have been taken out of the community," says Sports Sales Director for the Bowling Green Convention and Visitors Bureau, Amy Cardwell.

You can bet that Diddle Arena is going to host some type of graduation every year. The same could have been said for the KHSAA Girls' Sweet Sixteen. It had been held at the arena since 2001. KHSAA officials admit it's going to be a big change moving the tournament across the state. Those changes will have a big impact on Bowling Green, but tourism officials say they're ready for the challenge.

"There have been things in the past that may not have been able to come to Bowling Green because of the Houchens Industries (Girls Sweet Sixteen) event. Now that they have the ability to come, we've been on the phone with three different organizations wanting to fill the rooms for those slots," added Cardwell.

The Visitors Bureau said the Lovers Lane Soccer Complex as well as Michael Buchanon Park are facilities drawing in more tournaments, meaning more business. The KHSAA hasn't totally left town. The Boys State Golf title is slated for Bowling Green Country Club until 2020, and the State Football Championships were renewed through 2018 Tuesday.

"They've committed to staying there through 2018. It's the ideal site for our event and we hope to continue it," commented Tackett.

The Girls' Sweet Sixteen will take place on the campus of NKU until after 2017, then it's back up for grabs. Bowling Green also tried to bring the state softball tournament to town, but Owensboro was ultimately awarded the tournament for the next five seasons.

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