MSG's Return As NCAA Tourney Host Site Prompted By Rise Of Barclays Center
The rise of Barclays Center "as a player in securing major events finally pushed" Madison Square Garden to get back into the rotation for hosting the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, according to sources cited by Andy Katz of ESPN.com. No one from the NCAA or MSG "would go on the record on the matter." MSG "can't be in the rotation too often because of the number of events there in March, including the Knicks, Rangers, concerts and special events" such as the Big East Tournament. But sources said that MSG “wanted to be considered before Barclays,” which hosted Friday's Kentucky-Maryland college basketball game and will host the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic and the Legends Classic next week, as well as the Atlantic 10 tournament in March. The role of NCAA VP/Men's Basketball Tournament Dan Gavitt "in finalizing the deal didn't hurt.” Gavitt has “had a long-standing relationship with MSG" from his time as Big East Assistant Commissioner from '05-12. Gavitt on Tuesday said that he was “amazed the Garden could get in a third event” in addition to the Big East and NIT tournaments. Katz wrote the NCAA Tournament “needs to continue generating interest in a crowded landscape.” Putting the event in L.A. in ‘13 and in N.Y. in ‘14 “will give it an immediate pop” (ESPN.com, 11/14).