Starting in 2013, the A-10 tournament will be played at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., also the home of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets. Photo Courtesy of the Barclays Center.
The Atlantic 10 Conference confirmed today a five-year partnership with the new Barclays Center to bring the annual men’s basketball tournament to Brooklyn, N.Y., beginning in 2013.
Atlantic 10 Conference Commissioner Bernadette McGlade also announced that the league will change the format of its championship starting in 2013. Rather than have the first rounds of the tournament take place at campus sites, she said, all 12 qualified teams will travel to Brooklyn to compete. The tournament will still end on a Sunday.
“Our coaches were very united in wanting to have all 12 teams come to the new site,” McGlade said. “I think bringing all those student-athletes to the new center will be a very special experience.”
The decision to move the tournament is backed by a league report that the highest concentration of Atlantic 10 alumni live and work in the New York metro area. GW athletic director Patrick Nero tweeted that over 25,000 GW alumni are within a two-hour drive of the new location.
It also places the championship near the home of CBS Sports, the A-10’s television partner for the tournament and several regular-season A-10 games. The league isn’t concerned about the relative lack of A-10 teams in the New York metro area, McGlade said.
“Brooklyn and the surrounding metropolitan New York area is home to over 100,000 Atlantic 10 alumni. This combined with the 8 million plus population will give the Atlantic 10 an opportunity to grow the championship to new heights,” McGlade said. “The opportunity to partner with the Barclays Center and bring the Atlantic 10 Basketball Championship to New York has unlimited possibilities.”
Barclays is billed as a “state-of-the-art” venue, and will seat an estimated 18,000. The center will also be the new home of the National Basketball Association’s newly-renamed Brooklyn Nets, formerly the New Jersey Nets. It’s the first time the A-10 tournament will be held in an NBA building since the Spectrum in Philadelphia hosted the championship.
The move switches the tournament from its current home at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., the site of the upcoming 2012 championship.
She added that Atlantic City made an offer to extend its current contract with the A-10 for two years in May, and the league examined that offer, as well as other venues, when considering the championship’s home. In the end, the move to Brooklyn is one that the league feels will put the A-10 tournament on the national stage, she said, as well as allow its student-athletes the opportunity to compete in a brand-new facility.
“In a matter of due diligence you have to look at all of the different things that impact the success of a tournament. We do our due diligence and look at all the facilities up and down the East Coast in our footprint and west in our footprint,” McGlade said. “Our teams will compete in the newest, state-of-the-art facility within the Atlantic 10 footprint and the number-one media market in the country.”