Barclays negotiates with A-10, ACC
Officials for the Barclays Center are negotiating with the ACC and the Atlantic 10 to work out a deal for 2017 postseason tournament dates that could involve a scheduling alliance and nonconference doubleheaders between the conferences, multiple sources told ESPN on Friday.
Sports Illustrated first reported that the ACC's conference tournament would move to the Barclays Center in 2017 and 2018 after it goes to Greensboro, N.C., in 2015 and Washington, D.C., in 2016.
But the A-10 has a five-year deal with the Barclays Center that finishes with the 2017 tournament. The A-10 is open to moving the days of its 2017 tournament if it would get something in return from the ACC in terms of scheduling with the league to help raise its profile, a source with direct knowledge told ESPN. But that won't work for the Barclays Center.
Barclays Center officials are talking with the A-10 about giving up its 2017 dates there and have suggested possibly moving the conference to Nassau Coliseum, which will be under the Barclays property and is scheduled for a renovation. The New York Islanders are moving to the Barclays Center in 2015.
The Barclays Center, according to a source, isn't open to having college basketball tournaments go for more than a week and pushing the Islanders and Brooklyn Nets, the two primary tenants in 2017, on the road. But the A-10 hasn't been sold on the idea that Nassau Coliseum will be a suitable alternative site.
The arena is trying to make itself the center of college basketball in the New York City area, competing with Madison Square Garden, in trying to secure the ACC and keeping the A-10 under its properties, as well.
While the A-10 legally has the 2017 dates, the leverage rests with the arena because the A-10 wants to have the Barclays Center as part of its rotation of host cities in future years.
Multiple sources said the ACC deal will be done before the spring meetings in May and could be announced during the NCAA tournament. The ACC is sensitive to its Greensboro home, where the conference has had a long-standing relationship. The ACC is expected to rotate its tournament within its footprint and return to North Carolina in future years, to either Greensboro or Charlotte.
ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a statement that there would be no announcement about future sites during this year's tournament.
"Future tournament sites is not a new topic, as it's been discussed for the last several years and continues to be under discussion," he said. "At this time, the ACC tournament will be in Greensboro in 2015 and Washington, D.C., in 2016. Our schools will determine where it is held beyond 2016, and while we appreciate all of the interest in the future of this great event, we do not have anything to announce at this time, nor will we during the course of this tournament."
A Big Ten official told ESPN earlier in the season that the conference would have an East Coast rotation for its tournament in later years, with the additions of Rutgers and Maryland, with possible destinations being New York or Washington, D.C.
The A-10 is also looking at sites for 2018 and beyond and is open to moving its tournament around, possibly returning to the Philadelphia or Washington areas.
Multiple ACC sources said the league is well aware of the A-10's deal with the Barclays Center and that no deal has been signed. The ACC would like to get into Madison Square Garden, but MSG has a deal with the Big East through 2026, according to SI.
A source with connections to MSG told ESPN during the season that the arena would love to have the Big East and the ACC in the same week, but that would mean having the Big East move earlier in the week, which is unlikely to occur.
MORE MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL HEADLINES
- No. 1 Wildcats use D to fend off No. 4 L'ville
- Fisher: Polee collapsed in practice last year
- Seton Hall loses Whitehead to stress fracture
- Cincy's Cronin: Ailment not threat to career