Consol Energy Center hopes to join ACC tournament rotation
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The Atlantic Coast Conference men's basketball tournament never has been played north of the Mason-Dixon line. But it recently has expanded to cities in the Northeast and Midwest, and its premier event could be staged in Pittsburgh in the not-too-distant future.
Pittsburgh is one of several cities to bid for the tournament for the years 2016 through '21. The ACC does not have a timetable to announce the host cities, but a decision could come by the end of the year.
Pittsburgh's bid was presented by Consol Energy Center in conjunction with Visit Pittsburgh. The ACC tournament traditionally has been played in North Carolina, where four of the league's teams reside. The tournament will be played in Greensboro, N.C., the next three years.
In recent years, the ACC has rotated the event to other cities. Atlanta played host this year and in '09 and '01, Tampa in '07 and Washington in '05.
Penguins chief operating office Travis Williams does not believe the ACC is opposed to having the event in a northern city.
"There hasn't been any indication that it's a concern," Williams said. "Their goal is to expose people in other parts of the country to ACC basketball. Notre Dame is coming in. Syracuse is coming in.
"I actually think Pittsburgh is well-positioned to be a great central location for this type of tournament. We're certainly hoping to get in the regular rotation."
ACC athletic directors meet to discuss host cities, listen to presentations and ultimately vote on which cities will be awarded bids. Williams is hoping to land the tournament for multiple years in the six-year window.
Consol Energy Center opened in August 2010 and is the home for the Penguins of the NHL. But the Penguins have been aggressive in making the building a destination for big events outside of the world of hockey.
The NCAA played first- and second-round men's basketball tournament games there in March. Williams said the NCAA gave rave reviews for the building and the operation of the eight games there.
The 2013 Frozen Four, NCAA hockey's equivalent to basketball's Final Four, will be April 11-13 at Consol.
"The NCAA reviews of our building and their observation of the tournament will help," Williams said. "The reputation of the building will go a long way in helping us to land this."
As for moving the event to a new city and worries about attendance, Williams said the ACC need not worry.
"We're not concerned about it, and neither are they," he said. "Selling out the building will not be an issue.
"With Pitt moving to the ACC, it was important that we try to bring the ACC tournament to Pittsburgh, let the people see it and enjoy it. We want to support Pitt and the ACC."
First Published September 15, 2012 12:21 am