April 14, 2014
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Commissioner Mike Aresco announced on Monday that the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., has been chosen as the site of the 2015 American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship.
“We are pleased to bring our 2015 men’s basketball championship to the city of Hartford and to this outstanding arena,” said Aresco. “The success of UConn’s men’s and women’s teams this year has made Connecticut the center of college basketball nationally. This event will enjoy tremendous fan support and our visitors will enjoy the many attractions in Hartford and its surrounding communities.”
The XL Center has hosted a number of NCAA Championship men’s and women’s basketball games, was the site of the Big East Women’s Basketball Championship from 1994-2013 and previously served as a home site for the NBA’s Boston Celtics.
Aside from the many basketball events held at the XL Center, the facility is the home of the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League and hosted the NHL’s Hartford Whalers. The seating capacity for basketball at the XL Center is 16,294.
“Today’s announcement puts Hartford back in the basketball tournament business,” said Governor of Connecticut Dannel P. Malloy. “While this is great news for next year, I am even more excited for what this means in the future. I believe we can and should be in consideration for more NCAA tournament events, and I will continue to push to bring those games to our state. I want to thank the American Athletic Conference for making this decision. I also want to send a message to college basketball fans everywhere – come to Hartford next March. You won’t be disappointed.”
“We're honored and proud to have been chosen to host this prestigious event,” said Global Spectrum's Chris Lawrence, General Manager of the XL Center. “Through the commitment and unified approach of Global Spectrum, the Capital Region Development Authority, the city of Hartford and the downtown business community, we're extremely excited and eager to showcase Hartford. Combined with our scheduled summer renovations and an ever-growing events calendar, the American Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Championship will highlight a resurgent XL Center.”
Dates for the 2015 championship will be announced in the coming weeks.
“We are excited and proud that the American Athletic Conference has chosen the XL Center as the site for next season’s men’s championship tournament,” said UConn head coach Kevin Ollie. “It will give more of our great fans in Connecticut a chance to watch the intensity and competitiveness of postseason play. Last year’s tournament in Memphis brought together some of the top teams in the country and I know next year in Hartford will do the same. We want to keep Connecticut in the college basketball spotlight.”
“I am very excited that the American Athletic Conference men’s basketball tournament is coming to Hartford in 2015,” said UConn Director of Athletics Warde Manuel. “I want to congratulate Governor Dannel Malloy and the state of Connecticut, UConn alumnus Andy Bessette and the Connecticut Region Development Authority and Chris Lawrence and the staff at Global Spectrum for submitting an excellent proposal that resulted in the event coming to our capital city. We believe that our loyal UConn fans will once again fill the XL Center for our men’s and women’s basketball games in 2014-15 and that will continue during the 2015 American men’s tournament.”
All 11 American Athletic Conference schools will participate in the 2015 championship. The format calls for three first-round games on the first day, followed by four quarterfinal games, two semifinals and the championship game. The ESPN Networks will provide television and digital coverage of the tournament.
The 2014-15 season will be the second straight year in which the American Athletic Conference has the defending men’s and women’s NCAA champions in its ranks. The American was the only conference to place a team in the semifinals of the Men’s Final Four, the Women’s Final Four, the NIT and the WNIT this past season.
The American’s membership in 2014-15 will comprise UCF, Cincinnati, UConn, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, USF, SMU, Temple, Tulane and Tulsa.