SBD/July 13, 2011/Colleges

XL Center Will Continue To Host Big East Women's Basketball Tournament

XL Center will host women's Big East tourney for the next two years

The Big East women’s basketball tournament will remain in Hartford, Conn., at the XL Center for “at least the next two seasons,” according to Jeff Jacobs of the HARTFORD COURANT. Nine area corporations “have combined to buy $80,000 worth of tickets for both years, which annually equates to 800 all-session packages.” XL Center Senior VP & GM Chuck Steedman said, “Yes, it was part of our presentation. And, yes, I think it made a huge difference.” Jacobs writes, “It is terrific for Hartford that the XL Center retains the event and that nine corporations would band together. Now area leaders must continue strong, concrete steps toward making the tournament a permanent fixture in our city’s sports landscape.” The games “tend to blend into each other that time of year,” which is why the city “and the XL center have to continue to attack this event.” Jacobs: “Define it. Promote it. Make sure parking is affordable. Make sure restaurants stay open late.” Jacobs notes there was “resistance to putting the tournament” at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Notre Dame and a "bloc of Catholic schools has been blamed." But "not one has identified itself and said why." Jacobs: “What I don’t understand is why do they hide? … The conversation on the relationship between college athletics and gambling casinos must continue and it should, for the benefit of all of us, take place with transparency. The Big East and its schools, in this case, clearly have no interest in a public dialogue and that’s disappointing.” If the “bottom line was the only line,” Mohegan Sun likely “would have emerged victorious for the Big East tournament” (HARTFORD COURANT, 7/13).

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