Boys' Sweet Sixteen finds new title sponsor

mfields@herald-leader.comDecember 10, 2013 

Rupp Arena was a busy place Sunday during the boys Sweet Sixteen title game between Madison Central and Ballard. More than 17,000 watched the game live. Photo by Katie Decker.

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Whitaker Bank is the new title sponsor of the KHSAA Boys' Sweet Sixteen basketball tournament.

"It's a chance to take our family business and help this family (the KHSAA)," Whitaker Bank CEO Elmer Whitaker said Tuesday. "We hope to be an active partner and make changes in the lives of young people in our state."

The Boys' Sweet Sixteen didn't have a title sponsor last March for the first time since 2003. Whitaker Bank's three-year agreement starts with the 2014 tournament March 19-23 in Rupp Arena.

Houchens Industries is contracted to be the title sponsor of the Girls' Sweet Sixteen in Bowling Green through 2015.

KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett said developing a partnership with Whitaker Bank on the KHSAA's signature event is important financially to the organization, especially after the low attendance at last weekend's state football finals.

Bad weather across the state hurt ticket sales in Bowling Green. Attendance for the six championship games was about 24,000, down from about 47,000 in 2012.

Tackett said sponsors such as Whitaker Bank "ensure our programs can continue on and we don't have to worry about cuts having to be made later on."

Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com.

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