The Atlantic 10 officially announced it will move it’s conference tournament to Pittsburgh’s CONSOL Energy Center in March of 2017 then DC’s Verizon Center the following season.
The league gave up rights to host their tournament in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center those two seasons, allowing the ACC a two-year run in the Big Apple in exchange for neutral court competitions with the conference.
The announcement gives the conference tournament homes through the 2021 season, all but 2017 and 2018 being played at Barclays.
“The opportunity to rotate our championship within the A-10 footprint is exciting,” stated A-10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade in the league’s official release. “CONSOL Energy Center and Verizon Center are two state-of-the-art venues with great fan amenities and successful histories of hosting NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship events. Bringing the A-10 Championship and brand to Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. is another nod to the strength and value of the conference.”
Pittsburgh last hosted the A-10 tournament from 1978-1982.
“We are thrilled that the Atlantic 10 Conference has selected Pittsburgh for its Men’s Basketball Championship in 2017,” Tim Hassett, General Manager of CONSOL Energy Center and Regional Vice President for AEG Facilities said in the release. “The City of Pittsburgh has a rich history and tradition in college basketball and is the center of a region full of enthusiastic sports fans. We look forward to partnering with the Atlantic 10 and its member schools to put on a great show for all of those who will travel from near and far to see top-notch college basketball and enjoy all that our great city has to offer.”
The CONSOL Energy Center seats just under 20,000 fans and plays permanent home to the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins.
The league will follow that trip with a year in the nation’s capitol, moving the tournament to DC for the first time in the history of the conference.
“We’re excited to be selected as the host for the Atlantic 10 Conference’s first trip to the nation’s capital,” said David Touhey, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Verizon Center. “Partnering with the Atlantic 10 and its member schools provides another great opportunity for college basketball to be featured in the heart of downtown Washington.”
The Verizon Center plays home to the NBA’s Washington Wizards and NHL’s Washington Capitols with a capacity of 18,277. Relative newcomer, George Mason, punched their only ticket to an NCAA tournament Final 4 in the arena back in 2006 after defeating the No.1 seed UConn Huskies in a thrilling overtime win.