ACC moves from Greensboro to D.C.


Between 12 national championships and the fierce Tobacco Road rivalries, North Carolina has been known to many as basketball country.

The recent Atlantic Coast Conference expansions that added Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Notre Dame and Louisville to the ACC map has driven one of Greensboro’s most storied traditions, the men’s basketball tournament, from the Old North State.

Although the city of Greensboro has hosted the men’s basketball tournament in five of the last six years, the event will not return to the Greensboro Coliseum until 2020. In the meantime, the tournament will take a four-year road trip to Washington, D.C.’s Verizon Center in 2016, Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in 2017 and 2018 and Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena in 2019.

“Being in Washington gets us into a bigger area and closer to teams like Syracuse and Boston College that aren’t represented as well in North Carolina,” said junior ACC intern Pat Charvat. “Brooklyn and Washington are large cities with great venues that will help us give back to the schools through revenue sharing.”

The ACC is using the new tournament locations to attract the fans from farther north whose schools recently joined the conference ranks. The question remains if the new tournament locations will be as successful as Greensboro despite their distance from the ACC heartland.

“The ACC is a powerhouse in basketball, so college fans, whether they’re ACC or not, will come to the games,” said Charvat.

But the ACC faithful of the South may not travel well enough to fill the Verizon and Barclays Centers to capacity.

“I don’t believe attendance in Brooklyn or Washington, D.C., will be as high just due to the fact that there are more ACC schools in North Carolina, and there are more fans in Greensboro,” said junior ACC intern AJ Pasquale in an email interview. “I think, in the end, the tournament will stay in North Carolina or fairly close.”

Regardless of the success in Brooklyn or Washington, D.C., the Greensboro community could take a hit without the tournament. Local businesses will have to rely on smaller events to make up the profits usually raked in during March.

“The tournament brought in a lot of money to local hotels and restaurants,” said Pasquale. “From an economic perspective, the city will hurt.”

The good news for Greensboro is that it will continue to host the women’s basketball tournament until at least 2020 per the ACC’s contract with the Coliseum. While the women’s games do not bring in as much revenue, it still has strong roots in the community that will continue to keep North Carolina basketball spirit alive in the men’s tournament’s absence.

“Greensboro is still a well-connected city and a prime location for the women’s teams to travel to,” said sophomore basketball center Sebastian Kruger. “I’ve enjoyed watching tournament games at the Coliseum because of its great location and atmosphere.”

Greensboro will host both the men’s and women’s tournaments in 2020, and the city will seek to use the occasion to showcase that North Carolina is still the poster child of college basketball.

It seems likely that Greensboro will still host the tournament, but the ACC could potentially decide to make the city the official home of the tournament and not an infrequent destination for the league.

Or, so many local businesses hope.