Men's and women's basketball to play at Webster Bank Arena
Published: Monday, October 7, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 7, 2013 22:10
BRIDGEPORT – Months of speculation has come to an end – UConn will officially be bringing its basketball products to Bridgeport.
The school announced Monday in a joint press conference with Harbor Yard Sports and Entertainment that both the men’s and women’s basketball teams would play one game at Webster Bank Arena this coming season.
“With over 30,000 UConn alumni in Fairfield County and tens of thousands in New Haven County,” Harbor Yard Sports and Entertainment President Howard Saffan said, “we look forward to creating an annual tradition of hosting UConn basketball.”
While UConn athletic director Warde Manuel tempered expectations of future games in Bridgeport by saying the school was focused first on testing the waters this season, he did express his interest in bringing basketball to alumni, fans and donors in western Connecticut.
“We’ve also heard that there’s some money down here in Fairfield County,” Manuel quipped. “I’ve heard that since I’ve arrived too, so we’d like them to come and maybe we’ll host an event before for some potential donors.”
For men’s coach Kevin Ollie, the chance to play at Webster Bank Arena was satisfying on both a personal and athletic level.
In addition to the fact that Ollie’s mother-in-law lives just around the corner from the arena on Boston Avenue in Bridgeport, the coach sees the game as a chance to do some networking.
“Some of the people can’t drive up to Storrs and can’t drive up to Hartford,” Ollie said. “And to have it right up around the corner for them and the can come here to see the spirit, see our fans and integrate themselves into the Husky pride – that’s what it’s all about.”
“I like to say that we represent the entire state. It’s important for us to connect. It’s important for us to come down and connect with our fans, our alumni and our donors. And that includes those who live near New York City.”
Ollie’s team will get the first crack at a game in Bridgeport when they take on Eastern Washington at 1 p.m. on Dec. 28.
Their female counterparts will make the approximately hour-and-a-half trek from Storrs to Webster Bank Arena on Jan. 11 to take on Temple at noon.
Tickets will go on sale beginning Friday, Oct. 18.
Manuel stressed during the press conference that the timing of the games was ideal for the special location, as they fall during UConn’s winter break.
According to Saffan, there will be a section designated for students available at both games, though the specific section has not yet been decided.