Another legendary Duke is coming to Brooklyn.
The Atlantic Coast Conference postseason basketball tournament moves to Barclays Center in 2017 and 2018, the bustling sports hub at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues in the borough where Edwin (Duke) Snider, aka the Duke of Flatbush, once roamed centerfield for the beloved Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field.
Duke will be joined by more basketball royalty, including such brand-name programs as Syracuse, North Carolina and Louisville (which joins the conference next season). "The Barclays Center has established itself as a pre-eminent destination for college basketball. With our league's footprint spanning the entire Atlantic Coast, this is a perfect opportunity to bring the ACC Tournament to the media capital of the world," ACC commissioner John Swofford said Wednesday at Barclays, where the agreement was announced. "Our teams have strong histories and ties to New York, with each one boasting an active alumni chapter in the greater New York area."
Perhaps no school in the ACC has a stronger metropolitan area following than Syracuse. When the Orange played at Madison Square Garden as part of the original Big East, often it seemed like a Syracuse home game. Brett Yormark, CEO of Barclays Center, acknowledged that when he noted, "We target teams that are great drawing cards. Syracuse has been on our radar screen and now that they're part of the ACC, it will give them more of a reason to come here. They're very interested in playing in Barclays Center. You'll see them here quite a bit."
In addition to the two-year deal for the ACC Tournament, Wednesday's announcement also included an extension for the Atlantic 10 Conference through 2021. Barclays has hosted the last two A-10 postseason tournaments and that event will return for three years after the ACC's two-year run. This deal also includes regular-season interconference doubleheaders involving ACC and A-10 schools in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
All parties expect the three-way partnership to continue beyond 2021. "Building on all the brands that have come together here is a unique opportunity. It's a valued, long-term agreement and something that we will take pride in protecting," said Bernadette McGlade, the A-10 commissioner.
After the ACC Tournament returns to its Southern roots for three years, a regular rotation involving the ACC and A-10 postseason events in Brooklyn is likely. "Our teams want to be in New York. It's a mecca for college basketball," Swofford said. "It's the media capital of the world and we want our brand in this venue, in this city, in Brooklyn. It's very logical for us to have a premier event in this market."