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Four NCAA tournaments returning to Albany

Emily Burkhard
Updated: October 14, 2020 11:22 PM
Created: October 14, 2020 07:54 PM

ALBANY - Some good news on the heels of Albany County announcing a barely balanced budget for 2021; the NCAA announced four tournaments will be played at the Times Union Center over the next several years.

Officials said each tournament could bring tens of millions of dollars to the area.  

“You know the NCAA basketball tournament itself is a $7 billion economic impact for the whole month of March,” TU Center Assistant General Manager Doug McClaine said. “You know for Albany to get a piece of that is huge."

On Wednesday officials at the TU Center announced the arena has been selected for first and second round games of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament in 2023. The TU will host women’s Division I basketball “Sweet 16” and “Elite 8” games in 2024 as well.

It will also be home to the Division I men's hockey East Regional semi-finals and finals in 2022 and 2026.

McClaine said the bidding process was underway in March, when they got the news that they wouldn't be able to hold the men's basketball tournament as scheduled this year.

He said though it's unclear exactly how fans will be able to view live sports over the next several months and years, the NCAA recommended preparing bids for "normal" or pre-pandemic settings.

"We make the right business decisions and the NCAA's you know reevaluating the budgets and making sure that if it's with [reduced] fans that financial model is different than it is with a sold-out arena,” McClaine said.

NewsChannel 13 reached out to Albany County Executive Dan McCoy for comment.

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His office issued this statement:

"We are thrilled that the Times Union Center has been awarded four NCAA events. It's recognition of the terrific facility it is. We knew the investments we've made with renovations coupled with the Capital Region's love of competitive sports would convince the NCAA to return to Albany."

McClaine said he’s in constant contact with the state, the NCAA and the county health department in discussing plans and options for the women's tournament this March.

“There are really three scenarios you know...everything's normal and we have a sold out arena, 25% capacity and also there's one with no fans,” McClaine said. “So, I think there's three different scenarios and we'll play through and work with the state and continue to work with the NCAA to make sure that we do it right and safe."

Stay tuned to NewsChannel 13 for updates on this developing story.


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