Item: For the first time in the 63 year history of the event, when the ACC Tournament debuts Tuesday afternoon at the perpetually busy Brooklyn intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues site of Barclays Center, it will have never before been staged at a venue so far removed from its traditional Greensboro, N.C. base. It’s not quite Manhattan and Madison Square Garden with the built-in hustle and bustle of sitting above Penn Station and between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, but at long last after being held exclusively either in various N.C., cities, the Washington, D.C. metro area, Atlanta, and one lonely year at Tampa, the expanded conference and its fans get a taste of the Big Apple and spending some time on the subway.
“Next stop, Atlantic Avenue.”
If those heading to this week’s ACC Tournament aren’t using a ride share app or taxi to get to the venue, then no doubt they’ll likely be taking the convenient subway which empties out at the front door of the arena.
Just how many fans from around the conference footprint come to expensive (lodging) New York and end up traversing to one of the city’s outer boroughs will be interesting to watch.
On the eve of the first round which pits the bottom six teams in the standings, and even for the second round matinee doubleheader Wednesday featuring both SU and Duke, entrance to Barclays could be gained for as little as $6.00 for an upper level location on the secondary ticket market. That same upper deck was not opened when Syracuse met South Carolina at the arena over Thanksgiving weekend, draped over with a black curtain to camouflage the empty seats.
Once the ACC completed its expansion by adding the final four Big East teams in 2013-14, it was inevitable the league would experiment and bring its brand and premier event to the largest media market. But in this age of entertainment dilution and so many options, the same can be said about conference tournaments in New York City.
The revamped Big East is not going anywhere from Madison Square Garden anytime soon, and the Big Ten joins the fun by holding its tournament at the Garden the week of Feb.26, 2018, before the Big East. Throw in the ACC itself returning the tournament to Brooklyn again next year, and it’s easy to see why each conference will be fighting to stand out in the largest media market.