With March Madness in full swing, it’s easy to forget that the NCAA money-making machine is still looking for ways to open up “markets.” Or, in layman’s terms, the non-profit organization and its corresponding conferences are planning ahead for future cash-generating extravaganzas, tradition be damned.
The first bit of news–concerning or kick-ass, you decide–came yesterday when Sports Illustrated reported that Brooklyn’s Barclays Center wants to host the ACC Tournament in 2017. Reportedly, the league and the venue are finalizing the details, which would see Barclays host the ACC on a rotating basis with North Carolina.
However, the Atlantic 10 currently has a contract to host its 2017 tournament at Barclays, so the three will have to work out a deal–and they inevitably will, because when the ACC comes knocking at your door, you respond*. Assuming your of the glass-half-full outlook, an ACC Tournament in Brooklyn just means it’ll feel like a Big East Tournament of yore with Duke and North Carolina thrown into the blender. Many of the ACC schools also have large NYC alumni and fan bases, so the whole thing sounds like a win.
The second bit of news, which is empirically awful, is Newark, N.J.’s Prudential Center might vie for the 2017 Big Ten Tournament.
The Star-Ledger‘s Steve Politi wrote that the arena wants to get back into the college basketball postseason game, and sees jumping into rotation with the Big Ten Tournament’s current host cities of Indianapolis and Chicago as its best opportunity after nearby Rutgers joined the conference this year.
And, of course, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney was just vague enough when the topic of bringing a Midwestern athletic conference’s basketball tournament to F*CKING NEW JERSEY was broached:
“Make no mistake about it: We’re going to be out there with events and with press opportunities, and we’re going to work hard to build relationships and friendships,” Delany said. “We know it’s a competitive area for everything, and so we won’t dominate anything, but we want to be relevant for years to come.”
Ugh. You know something’s bound to happen, which f*ck that. Sure, in theory this author would benefit because his hometown Buckeyes would be playing a New Jersey Transit ride away. And, yeah, the alumni bases for several teams are huge in the city (Michigan and Indiana are practically east coast schools) and lots of money, yadda yadda yadda.
But if the angle behind John U. Bacon’s book about Big Ten fans is correct–when will conferences profiting off college fans’ insatiable passions for their schools eventually lose those fans?–then this has to be the breaking point. A Midwestern conference tournament played away from the majority of its fan bases–those who didn’t go to those schools–in a region where only its three most recent members reside seems pretty lame.
Then again, we’ll all be watching from our TVs, so maybe this is just the sign that we should stop caring so much.
* — The ball’s really in the Atlantic 10’s court here. They have a contract with the venue, but they also have an opening to host their tournament elsewhere in 2018 and potentially the chance to play in a renovated Nassau Coliseum on Long Island in 2017, which is nearby. Best believe they’ll extract something pretty from the ACC like priority non-conference scheduling at a venue like Barclays.