Baltimore will be host to post season NCAA basketball in March 2014 for the first time since 1995, when the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) holds its men’s basketball Championship here. The tournament will conclude a 23 year run at the Richmond Coliseum in Virginia in March of 2013. Even though the location is a neutral site, Towson fans should benefit as the tournament will be held at 1st Mariner Arena in downtown Baltimore, just nine miles from campus.
That same advantage was held by VCU during it’s tenure in the CAA, the Coliseum which is less than two miles from its downtown campus. VCU left the CAA this past summer to play in the Atlantic-10. While the tournament is billed as a neutral site, the coliseum was often filled with the traditional black and gold colors of the Rams in past years.
Baltimore was one of 30 sites to submit a bid earlier this year, reports indicate the two finalist cities were Baltimore and Richmond. Baltimore’s bid was presented by members of Visit Baltimore—the tourism agency for the city— and Maryland’s Office of sports Marketing. “This will be Baltimore’s big annual basketball event and is a great example of how partnership between Visit Baltimore, the city, 1st Mariner arena and the state of Maryland can generate economic impact for the city,” said Tom Noonan President and CEO of Visit Baltimore said at the press conference today to announce the tournaments new home. According to studies that economic impact has shown to be $5.8 million over the four day event. In 2012 the event drew a record turnout of 47,833 fans to the Richmond Coliseum during the tournament. The tournament will also be held in Baltimore in 2015 and 2016.
Towson coach Pat Skerry said in a statement released this afternoon, “We are excited about today’s announcement and think it can be a great partnership between the Colonial Athletic Association and the City of Baltimore. We’re trying to grow our brand, so anytime you can get a quality league tournament in a great city like Baltimore, it’s a great thing. There will be some very quality teams coming down to Baltimore starting in 2014 and I think it will provide our fans with a chance to get out and see what a high level basketball tournament and post-season environment is like.”