A man wearing a Wake Forest cap walking down College Street on Thursday morning was overheard talking about what a nice city Charlotte is.
On the path toward Bobcats Arena from the Westin, tulips are starting to bloom. The sun is shining and folks wearing team colors – orange, red and different shades of blue – are enjoying one of the passages of spring.
The ACC men’s basketball tournament started at noon today, and Charlotte is banking on the energy downtown to convince ACC officials that the tournament needs to be held here some time in the future.
When that might happen isn’t certain. The tournament is booked for Greensboro or Atlanta through 2015, though the ACC has the right to option out the 2013, 2014 or 2015 tournament from Greensboro to a different site.
That option year gives Charlotte tourism officials hope. They believe a lot of people will react to downtown the same way that man in the Wake Forest cap did. Even though Bobcats Arena seats 3,700 fewer for the tournament than the Greensboro Coliseum, people who have a good time this week might want to return to Charlotte, especially after the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Wachovia Cultural Complex are built.
This is a big audition for the city. Tampa did such a good job playing host to the tournament last season that it got into the rotation for ACC football championship games in 2008 and 2009.
But Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said there’s something special about the ACC tournament when it’s in North Carolina.
“There’s, like, a celebration a little bit more,” Krzyzewski said. “It kind of takes over the city.”
Outside Bobcats Arena on Thursday, it was easy to see what Krzyzewski was talking about.
– Ken Tysiac
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Posted by Observer Sports at 12:18 PM