Editorial: AAC rewards UConn, and its fans, with opportunity to host next year's tourney
Last week, the American Athletic Conference awarded the city of Hartford the hosting rights to the 2015 Men's Basketball Tournament, which will be played at the XL Center. UConn will be considered the host school for this tournament. This is good recognition for UConn as well as for Hartford in general.
Ever since the demise of the Big East, UConn fans have been claiming they are not respected in the AAC and hoping the school moves to another conference. However, by awarding UConn and Hartford the hosting rights for the biggest conference event of the year, the AAC has shown UConn that it is one of the most important schools in the conference. It is counting on UConn fans to go to the games and buy tickets, generating revenue for the conference and filling seats. It knows UConn has the fan base to do so.
UConn fans should be proud that the AAC recognizes their tremendous base and show up in large numbers for the tournament next March. UConn should also be proud that their arena, the XL Center, was deemed to be worthy of hosting a major tournament. The arena will be undergoing renovations this summer to improve the fan experience, including additional private boxes and a new scoreboard. Additionally, a new concourse with an area for fans to stand will be built behind one of the baskets. These renovations almost certainly contributed to the decision to play the tournament in Hartford, reaffirming the decision to make the changes.
Additionally, putting the tournament in Hartford will benefit the city in general. Fans of other schools will come in from all over the country, spending their money at local hotels, restaurants and bars. This will be a tremendous boost to business in the city and surrounding area, which have been struggling recently. Stores are going out of business, and this will provide them with much needed revenue.
Awarding the AAC Tournament to Hartford, and playing it on UConn's home floor, shows the tremendous potential UConn has for the American Athletic Conference. Although many fans are unhappy with the current situation and feel disrespected by not being invited to a more prestigious conference, playing the tournament in Hartford shows that the AAC respects the Huskies and their fan base. UConn students and fans should be proud of hosting this tournament, and should turn up to show their support for the Huskies in March of next year.
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