Barclays Center to host prestigious ACC Tournament in 2017-18
By John Torenli, Sports Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Though our local college basketball teams – LIU-Brooklyn and St. Francis Brooklyn -- were denied the opportunity to go dancing this month in the annual NCAA Tournament, Downtown Brooklyn will soon be the setting for arguably the most prestigious conference tourney in the entire nation.
The Barclays Center and the newly reconfigured Atlantic Coast Conference announced Wednesday morning that the state-of-the-art arena on the corners of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues would host the ACC Tournament in both 2017 and 2018.
"We are pleased that the ACC basketball tournament will be played at Barclays Center in 2017 and 2018," ACC commissioner John Swofford said.
"Barclays Center has quickly emerged as one of the premier sports and entertainment venues in the world and Brooklyn is a hot spot within the New York marketplace, which is an important part of our league's new footprint.''
The new deal, which was contingent on the Atlantic 10 Tournament abandoning its contractual rights to host its annual tournament at Barclays during those years, opens the door to the possibility that the NCAA Tournament itself could soon be visiting our fair borough.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Beginning Friday night, Madison Square Garden, long-time host of the Big East Tournament, will provide the venue for the NCAA Regional Semifinal games between Iowa State and Connecticut and Virginia and Michigan State, respectively.
With national ACC powerhouses like Duke, North Carolina, No. 1 seed Virginia, defending national champion Louisville, Syracuse, Pitt and Notre Dame playing for the conference crown here in three years, can it be much longer before the Barclays Center becomes home to second- or third-round games in the NCAAs?
Again, we digress.
The Garden and the Barclays Center are already co-hosting next year’s NBA All-Star Weekend, with Brooklyn taking care of most of the Friday and Saturday night activities before the All-Star Game itself will be played at “The World’s Most Famous Arena” on Sunday.
Could a similar situation play out during future NCAA Tournaments? A duel-venue regional, so to speak?
While the Nets have been the big story at Barclays since its official opening in 2012, the arena has already hosted several in-season tournaments, including the Barclays Center Classic, which will be headlined by Virginia in November.
That very month, Barclays will also host the championship rounds of the annual Legends Classic, likely welcoming the likes of Villanova, Michigan, Virginia Commonwealth and Oregon to Brooklyn.
The A-10 will continue to hold its championship at Barclays Center in 2015 and 2016 and then return to the venue for three years from 2019-2021. Also, the ACC and the A-10 will play inter-conference doubleheaders at Barclays Center in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
In addition, the A-10 has secured a spot for its teams to participate in the annual BROOKLYN HOOPS events at Barclays Center.
“Playing the A-10 Championship in Barclays Center is fantastic, and securing a three-year extension is a great opportunity for the conference. Working in a collaborative way with Brett Yormark and John Swofford to negotiate a plan that is a win-win for all involved has been a good experience,” noted Atlantic 10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade. “This agreement that creates a scheduling partnership, the ability to play the A-10 Championship in other areas of our footprint and returning to the NY market is exciting, securing a solid future for the A-10.”
Brett Yormark, the Barclays Center’s CEO and the man most responsible for bringing big-time college basketball as well as professional boxing back to Brooklyn, was gushing with pride over the major coup in the arena’s ongoing tete-a-tete with MSG. Even if he didn’t call out the Garden by name, despite unofficial rumblings that the ACC went to New York City’s self-proclaimed basketball mecca before visiting the idea of holding its tournament at Barclays.
"It's exciting to bring the elite ACC and its storied men's basketball tournament history to Brooklyn," said Yormark. "We're looking forward to extending our Atlantic 10 partnership starting in 2019 through 2021.
"It's clear that our position with both conferences validates Barclays Center as the leading college basketball venue in the country," Yormark added.
After three consecutive seasons of March Madness here during LIU’s storied and unprecedented run to a trio of NCAA Tournament bids, it was more than just a bit of consolation to find out Wednesday that Brooklynites would be privy to the best college basketball has to offer come 2017.
The ACC Tournament has been held in seven different cities and 11 venues since the inaugural event in March of 1954.
The Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum serves as host in 2015 and Washington D.C. will host the tournament in 2016.
The Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Championship just completed its second year at Barclays Center following six years at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. It has also been held in Cincinnati, Ohio, Philadelphia, Pa. and Dayton, Ohio.