Wednesday, February 25, 2009

ACC gets chance to court new fans

Although the ACC would prefer to have its basketball tournament sold out, having tickets on sale to the general public for the first time in 43 years could have some benefits.

Surely there are fans who aren’t members of an ACC school’s booster club who have wanted to attend the ACC Tournament for a long time. This will be a chance to welcome some of them to the conference’s greatest championship and grow the league’s fan base, particularly in Atlanta.

The tournament will be held in the Georgia Dome on March 12-15, and fans’ inability or unwillingness to travel during the recession has prevented schools’ booster clubs from selling out their ticket allotments.

Some ACC traditionalists probably will seize upon this as evidence that the tournament should never leave North Carolina and the ACC should have never expanded from nine to 12 schools.

The traditionalists have valid arguments against expansion. This isn’t one of them.

In 2001, the tournament was sensational at the Georgia Dome, setting conference tournament records for total attendance (182,525), per session attendance (36,505) and single session attendance (40,083).

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said the atmosphere reminded him of a Final Four. Duke and Maryland played an unforgettable ACC semifinal game there before meeting again in the national semifinals.

Taking the tournament to Atlanta again following the success eight years ago didn’t seem to be much of a risk, especially with the Dome being reconfigured for a slightly smaller crowd of 36,000.

When they awarded this tournament to Atlanta, there was no way to anticipate that the United States would be suffering through its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Sure, the tournament would have had a better chance of being a sellout if it were held in a smaller arena in Greensboro or Charlotte this year. But the extra seats in Atlanta also represented a bigger revenue opportunity that probably would have been fully realized in any other year. – Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

The tournament should always be played in Greensboro, within 4 hours drive of half the schools.

Playing for the championship of the conference known for the tobacco road over 5 hours away from its heart is asinine. Only slightly less ridiculous than playing the football championship game in Florida, over 6 hours away from all but two schools.

MichaelProcton said...

Beyond the mere matter of location, any FOOTBALL DOME is simply a poor choice for the ACC's premier BASKETBALL showcase. Sightlines are terrible from more than half the seats, and early-round games are nowhere CLOSE to sold out. Those two items are never true in Greensboro.

Anonymous said...

It really is goofy to have it in a football stadium. I have to agree that the ACC Tourny should be held in North Carolina, not necessarily Greensboro, but Greensboro is the logical center location for ACC.

Anonymous said...

The ACC has long been dominated by the big 4 schools. Well they finally gave in and added 3 more schools. Now they do not have the majority of the votes anymore. This tournament should be rotated and not held in the "cancer" state of North Carolina.