Memphis To Host '14 American Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Tournament
FedExForum will host the '14 American Athletic Conference men’s basketball tournament, as Memphis beat out "six cities that put in formal bids to host the tournament,” according to Jason Smith of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. Univ. of Memphis AD Tom Bowen said that the winning bid was “the result of a successful collaboration" between FedExForum officials, the university and city leaders, including Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau President & CEO Kevin Kane. Memphis’ bid “includes a 70-30 revenue split" between the AAC and UM. Asked if he hoped FedExForum might become the permanent home for the event, Bowen pointed out that the conference "has an option to return to Memphis in 2015." Bowen: “It’s working with the Grizzlies to see if they want to continue with it as well. … So you can’t really just assume we’re going to continue to be able to do this.” AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco last month said that the tournament site “would likely be reassessed after one year.” UM men’s basketball coach Josh Pastner yesterday said that Memphis was “the unanimous pick among the league’s coaches to host the tournament” (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 6/12). In Hartford, Paul Doyle writes the selection “comes as no surprise.” AAC leaders also “considered the Palestra in Philadelphia and there was some support for a smaller (8,700 seats) venue.” But Memphis officials “pushed hard for the tournament and conference members were convinced the Tigers will be a marquee program in the league.” With Louisville “still in the conference next year, attendance could be strong” (HARTFORD COURANT, 6/12). In Tampa, Greg Auman noted the city had “initially expressed interest in bidding for the tournament, but couldn't guarantee available dates at the Tampa Bay Times Forum” (TAMPABAY.com, 6/11).
LADIES' NIGHT: In Hartford, Altavilla & Gosselin report the AAC has “reached an agreement with the Mohegan Sun Arena to play its inaugural postseason women's basketball tournament at the casino in March.” The tournament will be held March 7-10, and the deal is “for one year with a conference option" for the '15 tourney. XL Center GM Chris Lawrence said that Global Spectrum "might have been handicapped because it has not officially taken over management of the XL Center, though it has been selected for a 10-year contract" (HARTFORD COURANT, 6/12). The AP’s Pat Eaton-Robb noted Mohegan Sun “offers gambling, but does not have a sports book.” The venue “made pitches in the past to host the women's tournament for the American's predecessor, The Big East, but was rejected amid objections from the league's Catholic schools to having the tournament at a gambling venue” (AP, 6/11).