As the host destination of the NJCAA Division I Women’s National Basketball Championships for the sixth consecutive year, Lubbock knows how to plan a winning tournament. In April 2021, 24 teams from across the country met at Lubbock Christian University (LCU) to compete for the championship title. Lubbock Sports sat down with Tournament Director Darren Pannier to discuss the ins and outs of planning a sporting event in the “Hub City.”
What was your experience hosting a sporting event in Lubbock?
Lubbock is an awesome city to host a sporting event. It says a lot when a city can open their arms to every team member and fan to make them feel at home and Lubbock shows true hometown hospitality. The tournament is a single-elimination tournament which is a high-anxiety environment for many teams and spectators. The Lubbock community makes those feelings disappear so that the student athletes can focus on what they are there for — to win the national title. Lubbock treats every team and spectator like their own kinfolk.
How has your experience been working with Lubbock Sports for the past several years?
I can’t say enough to express my appreciation to the Lubbock Sports team. Several years ago, when I first traveled to Lubbock for a site visit, I knew once I stepped off the plane Lubbock would be the location for our event.
With each tournament played in Lubbock, Lubbock Sports has treated every individual the same. I truly believe each team, player and spectator walks away feeling as though they were an integral part of the national tournament experience. This is difficult to achieve because only one team will walk away with the national championship title.
Lubbock Sports provides all competitors with this once-in-a-lifetime, unforgettable opportunity. Lubbock Sports also gives the winning team an experience like no other national tournament in NJCAA history. Once the championship trophy is presented, confetti floats down onto them and the energy on the court is unbelievable. Although it was a tournament for NJCAA, they were made to feel like a celebrating NCAA championship team.
What would you tell someone if they were contemplating hosting an event in Lubbock?
For those who are looking at hosting a sporting event in Lubbock, don’t miss out on this experience!
How has COVID-19 affected planning and hosting an event?
I know for a fact all involved in the planning process will have one thing on their minds — keeping everyone as safe as possible. We have met via Zoom since the beginning of October to discuss different actions and put the necessary protocols in place to ensure a safe experience for the athletes and fans. We hope that we all can have a better grip on the virus and keep everyone as safe as we can.
If you are interested in hosting an event in Lubbock, contact Scott Harrison, director of Lubbock Sports, at 806-723-8233 for more information. SDM