ACC anticipates keeping North Carolina as tournament ‘home base’

October 17, 2012

ACC Commissioner John Swofford. (Associated Press)

CHARLOTTE — Despite discussions to move the ACC men’s basketball tournament away from its current home base in the North Carolina area and a “great deal of interest” from prospective venues, Commissioner John Swofford said at Wednesday’s media day that, at least for the next “eight or 10 years,” the basic format as far as location likely will not change.

At the ACC’s recent fall meetings at Boston College, Swofford 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. 

“We’re working on that,” Swofford said. “We’ve had a great deal of interest in the tournament, as you would expect.  I think you’d expect that under any circumstances, but particular with the growing league, new teams coming in, the fact that we’ll be in nine continuous states up and down the eastern seaboard, and with Notre Dame joining, all of that is very positive.”

With Syracuse and Pittsburgh soon joining the ACC, moving the tournament location north would make sense. According to an individual with knowledge of the situation, Verizon Center is among the venues to file a request for proposal to host the tournament, which will continue to feature all ACC teams, even with conference expansion.

Because of the competitive nature of such talks, the individual declined to give the specific years for which the Verizon Center has put in a bid. The Washington arena last hosted the ACC tournament in 2005.

Of the 23 ACC tournaments played since 1990, 18 have been staged in either Greensboro, N.C., or Charlotte. The next three will be held in Greensboro.

Madison Square Garden was rumored as a potential candidate, but the arena’s ownership was at odds with the ACC over a contract length. According to a New York Post report, MSG is prepared to sign a 10-year contract to keep the Big East tournament, while the Barclays Center in Brooklyn has a deal in place with the Atlantic 10.

“My guess is, in listening to the discussions and to the athletic directors, the next eight or 10 years will look somewhat similar to the past decade,” Swofford said. “North Carolina as its home base in Greensboro and Charlotte, then bounce out periodically to parts of our footprint. My anticipation at this point is we’ll do something similar to that. We have some attractive opportunities with that.” 

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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