COLUMBIA, Mo. - As MU men's basketball coach Kim Anderson winds down his last days at the program, a search worth millions of dollars will soon begin to replace him.
Anderson, a former Tiger basketball player, will step down at the end of the season. He amassed a 26-67 record in three seasons as head coach.
The next coach will command a program worth tens of millions to the city of Columbia. Data from the city's Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates the men's basketball program brought in $11.4 million from July 2014 to June 2015. That is four percent of the total amount the city says sporting events brought in during that time, a total of $294,194,435.
The school will work with another company to boost home ticket sales for the next year to improve lagging attendance, as well. CVB communications director Megan McConachie said football and men's basketball seasons have noticeable impacts on how much money businesses enjoy from home games, as well as the city's intake of sales tax. Basketball, though, has not had the same effect as football, where people might stay several days in town for the event.
"Basketball has never been a huge 'overnight stay' driver, but it is an important part of our tourism product," McConachie said.
The lower attendance at basketball games reflects both the residents and visitors coming to games, she said.
"While that does mean a lot of residents aren't attending the games, it probably also means that there are fewer visitors coming in for those games," McConachie said. "And so there are some of those schools, when you get into [Southeastern Conference] play, that are very committed, that will drive the distance, spend the night. But Mizzou fans for basketball are not traveling in and spending the time here as much."
For FY2015, estimates show the football program brought in more than $67 million. Weekends like the Roots & Blues & BBQ music festival and the True/False Film Festival draw considerable crowds, McConachie said MU Athletics remained the key driver for tourism in Columbia.