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Illinois State fans cheer the Redbirds during a Missouri Valley Conference Tournament semifinal game against Southern Illinois last season at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The MVC announced Thursday the tourney will remain in St. Louis through at least 2020.

DAVID PROEBER, THE PANTAGRAPH

NORMAL — The Missouri Valley Conference Men's Basketball Tournament is affectionately known as "Arch Madness." That won't be changing any time soon.

MVC commissioner Doug Elgin announced Thursday the tournament will remain in St. Louis and the Scottrade Center through 2020. That will mark the 30th straight year for the tourney in St. Louis.

Kiel Auditorium (1991) and the Saint Louis Arena (1992-94) were the tourney venues before moving to Scottrade Center in 1995. The last time it was held at a campus site was Redbird Arena in 1990.

The existing agreement with the Scottrade Center is through 2018. The Valley exercised its two-year option on Thursday.

"We're elated to have had the opportunity to keep our basketball tournament here for such a long run," said Elgin. "We owe the St. Louis Blues a great debt by carving five consecutive dates out of the heart of the NHL schedule every March.

"Our State Farm MVC Tournament has established very deep roots in St. Louis, and this would never have been possible without the construction of Scottrade Center."

The MVC Tournament is the second longest continuously running event at the same neutral site, topped only by the Big East Conference at Madison Square Garden in New York City since 1981.

A total of 1,354,898 fans have attended the MVC Tournament during its 27-year stay in St. Louis. The league holds the Scottrade Center record attendance for a basketball game with crowds of 22,612 for the semifinals and final in 2007.

The 2018 MVC Tournament will be held March 1-4, with the championship game being televised on CBS.

The Scottrade Center has hosted five NCAA basketball events, including the Women's Final Four (2001, 2009) and three preliminary men's events (1998, 2014, 2016). First- and second-round NCAA men's tournament games will be played at the Scottrade Center again in 2020.

Follow Jim Benson on Twitter: @Pg_Benson

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Sports Writer

Sports Writer for The Pantagraph.

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