Baltimore Gets Men’s Event
Posted: December 13, 2012
HARRISONBURG — The Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament is headed to Baltimore in 2014 after 24 years in Richmond.
The CAA announced the move Wednesday, with commissioner Tom Yeager saying the vote among league presidents “was strongly in favor” of Baltimore, which was the lone finalist vying against Virginia’s capital.
Overall attendance at the four-day event has exceeded 42,000 the past four years at the Richmond Coliseum, but with hometown Virginia Commonwealth out of the league and nearby Old Dominion leaving next year, that number figures to drop precipitously.
“We’re a different league than we were 12 months ago,” Yeager said. “There’s no denying the impact that VCU and ODU had on the tournament. That’s not there going forward. So it brought a whole new evaluation.”
The Colonial is now contracted to hold its tournament from 2014-16 at 1st Mariner Arena, an 11,800-seat facility in downtown Baltimore that was opened in 1962.
Asked what he projected in terms of attendance in the new city, Yeager said, like this year’s scant seven-team tourney in Richmond, “that’s part of the big unknown.”
Outgoing ODU and Georgia State are not eligible for March’s CAA tournament. Neither are Towson and UNC-Wilmington – both sanctioned for academic reasons. Next year’s field figures to have 10 teams, including newly added College of Charleston.
Seven of the 10 remaining schools are located within 250 miles of Baltimore, whereas six are within that distance of Richmond.
“Baltimore is a bigger stage with brighter lights,” Yeager said. “And it’s more centrally located to our member institutions. … It’s a bigger market, and its reputation as a destination city speaks for itself.”
Yeager said that 370,000 alumni live within 100 miles of Baltimore.