By JOSH NEWMAN
Special to ZAGSBLOG
With the additions of Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame, the ACC Tournament has long been rumored to be heading north, specifically to New York City in some fashion.
On Wednesday morning, that fantasy became a reality. In a press conference with Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark, ACC Commissioner John Swofford and Atlantic 10 Commissioner Bernadette McGlade, it was announced that the ACC Tournament will be held in Brooklyn for the first time in 2017 and 2018.
Additionally, the A-10, which played its tournament there in 2013, 2014 and will do so in 2015 and 2016, will return to the arena for 2019, 2020 and 2021.
As part of the deal, the ACC and the A-10 agreed to play inter-conference doubleheaders at Barclays Center in 2015, 2016 and 2017, while the A-10 has secured a spot for its teams to participate in the building’s annual BROOKLYN HOOPS events.
The ACC invading New York City, forever a Championship Week stronghold of the Big East Tournament and Madison Square Garden, is not only a win for the conference, but also for the arena, which has worked to become a factor in college basketball since opening for the 2012-13 season.
“In general, I look at it as a validation for our college basketball platform,” Yormark said. “Obviously, we’ve enjoyed great success with the Atlantic 10, we look forward to working with the Atlantic 10 in the future and also, bringing the ACC on board I think is a big coup for our building.”
Since its inception in 1954, the ACC Tournament has left North Carolina, Georgia and Florida a total of just four times. With the aforementioned Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame joining, plus the inclusion of Louisville next season, change has been on the horizon.
After its current 3-year contract with Greensboro Coliseum runs out in 2015, the ACC will head to Brooklyn, a move considered by some to be a home run on several fronts.
“It’s the media capital of the world and we want our brand in this city, in this facility, in Brooklyn,” Swofford said. “We’re really excited about this and what it can do for the Atlantic Coast Conference. With our new footprint and our expanded membership, it’s very logical for us to have what is a premier event in college basketball and in our conference in this market.”
The A-10 Tournament has very much lived a nomadic existence in its 37-year history, something that will now continue as the conference will need to seek a home for 2016 and 2017. This current 4-year run at Barclays comes after six years of varying success at Atlantic City’s iconic Boardwalk Hall.
As for the inter-conference doubleheaders, the conferences will manage the selection of the teams, but Yormark made it clear that he would like Syracuse involved with good reason. The school has an enormous New York alumni base and when the Orange play at Madison Square Garden, the building is generally packed with Orange fans.
“By design, we like to target teams that are great drawing cards,” Yorkmark said. “Looking at those teams in the tri-state area, Syracuse being one, they fit that category. They’re a great drawing card. Syracuse, in particular, has been on our radar screen and obviously, now that they’re part of the ACC, we’ll give them more of a reason to come here.”