ACC Goes With Status Quo For Basketball Tournament Venues Despite Expansion
ACC Commissioner John Swofford yesterday said that "for at least the next 'eight or 10' years,' the basic format as far as location" of the conference's basketball tournament "likely will not change," according to Alex Prewitt of the WASHINGTON POST. Swofford at the ACC's fall meetings said that "'lengthy discussions' -- but no final decisions -- took place that included evaluating the number of venues and cities that have put in proposals to host the tournament." Swofford said there has been a "great deal of interest" from prospective venues. Sources said that DC's Verizon Center "is among the venues to file a request for proposal to host the tournament." Prewitt notes of the 23 ACC basketball tournaments played since '90, 18 have been "staged in either Greensboro, N.C., or Charlotte." The next three will be held in Greensboro, and the tournament will "continue to feature all ACC teams, even with the conference expansion" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 10/17). Swofford said that the reason the ACC and Madison Square Garden "didn't get a deal was that MSG wanted a regular tenant every March and the ACC wasn't willing to commit to a set location." Swofford said that he was "open to taking the tournament to Brooklyn at the Barclays Center" (ESPN.com, 10/17).
GARDEN PARTY: Big East Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco yesterday announced that the conference has "signed a 10-year contract extension with Madison Square Garden, ensuring that it's most visible event will stay in the home it's enjoyed for the last 30 years." Aresco said, "To have this tournament here, long into the future, at the Garden is huge. I think it makes a real statement about our conference. About what our conference is, about what it's going to be. That's where we belong." In Newark, Brendan Prunty notes the deal "cements the Garden as the league's postseason home for men's basketball until 2025-26." The agreement is "critical to the Big East, which has seen its ranks pilfered by the Atlantic Coast Conference since the beginning of last September." Aresco "called it 'among the first' tasks he wanted to accomplish when he took over the commissioner's chair on Sept. 1." While Swofford last month said that MSG was "out of the equation" for a potential ACC tournament site, the Big East "couldn't take the chance of letting its last basketball-based property be snatched away." Aresco: "We weren't thinking about any other conference, we just were thinking about the Big East. And what would be good for the Big East and what would be good for the Garden" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 10/18).