Add Orlando, Fla., to the cities bidding to host the ACC men’s basketball tournament for the first time.
Steve Hogan, the CEO of Florida Citrus Sports, said Thursday that Orlando wants to bring the event to its Amway Center, new home of the NBA’s Magic and site of the 2012 NBA All-Star Game. The arena opened in 2010.
“It’s the newest and flashiest, all those wonderful superlatives you can shower on (a building),” Hogan said. “It’s got all that great walkability with downtown now. It’s right on Church Street and Church Street Station. It’s kind of a downtown front door. It’s a cool thing.”
The next three ACC tournaments are set for Greensboro, N.C., home to the conference’s headquarters. Bids for 2016-21 recently closed and will be evaluated at the league’s fall meetings next month in Boston.
The Central Florida Sports Commission is leading Orlando’s efforts, with support from Florida Citrus Sports, the group that runs the city’s two football bowls: the Russell Athletic and Capital One. The Russell Athletic matches teams from the ACC and Big East, the Capital One from the Southeastern Conference and Big Ten.
Hogan said Florida Citrus Sports is leveraging its connections in hopes of landing not only the ACC but also the SEC tournament.
“We understand it’s not a regular home for the ACC or SEC,” he said, “but to be part of a one-in-every-five-year rotation, you’d like to have it. They’re working hard to get that.”
The ACC tournament has ventured outside North Carolina 11 times in its 59 years, once to Florida, that the 2007 event in Tampa. Atlanta (six), Landover, Md. (three), and Washington, D.C. (one) also have hosted.
Another potential first-time destination is Pittsburgh. Officials at the University of Pittsburgh, which will join the ACC next year, said last week [details here] the city has bid to bring the tournament to the Consol Energy Center, home of the NHL’s Penguins.
Among Pittsburgh, Orlando and usual suspects Greensboro, Charlotte, N.C., Atlanta and D.C., the ACC has plenty of options. The conference does not identify bidding cities, and I’ve been unable to learn whether the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., has submitted.
But as a warm-weather tourist Mecca with an arena that NBA commissioner David Stern hails as world-class, Orlando is certainly intriguing.
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