There isn’t an Atlantic Coast Conference school within 200 miles, but New York is home to several large alumni bases and, perhaps more importantly, is a “media capital,” Swofford said at Barclays Center on Wednesday.
“I firmly believe that the experience for our players, our coaches and our fans will be second to none when we come to Barclays,” Swofford said. “It’s the media capital of the world, and we want our brand in this city, in this facility, in Brooklyn. So we’re really excited about this and what it can do for the Atlantic Coast Conference.”
The league will crown its champion at the arena in 2017 and ’18, after holding the tournament in Greensboro, N.C., in 2015 and in Washington in 2016.
The move to New York represents a shift from the ACC tournament’s Southern roots after years of conference realignment. The state of North Carolina has hosted 50 of the 61 events in league history.
But Louisville’s arrival in July will make it the seventh former Big East school to join the 15-team ACC since 2004, so those programs were accustomed to playing their conference tournament in Madison Square Garden.
“Times change, and almost half of our league are former Big East schools, so we should pay attention to what everyone likes,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Louisville, Syracuse, Pitt, Notre Dame — they’re not in North Carolina.”
The Atlantic 10 was scheduled to play its tournament at Barclays Center through 2017, but it will move in exchange for playing an ACC/A-10 doubleheader at Barclays during the 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. The A-10 tournament will return to Barclays for three years starting in 2019.
Atlantic 10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade said the league would be seeking a new location “within the footprint” of its geography for 2017 and ’18, possibly in Washington or Pittsburgh.
Meanwhile, the ACC, which now reaches from Boston to Tallahassee, Fla., will be coming to New York, where throngs of hollering, orange-clad Syracuse fans once packed the Garden for the Big East tournament. The new Big East formed by the conference’s non-football schools still plays its tourney at the Garden.
But in three years, the biggest tournament in town will be at the newer arena, in the borough that seems to vacuum up all the cultural cachet lately.
“Obviously, we would encourage the ACC to put us in what potentially might be a rotation of venues,” Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said. “We’ve got to earn our stripes. We’ve got to provide an extraordinary experience to get them to come back, and that would certainly be the goal.”