After 24 years, the CAA Tournament will no longer be held in Richmond, moving to Baltimore in 2014.
Update #1 – December 12th, 8:00 PM
The CAA Tournament will be held in Baltimore’s 11,800-seat 1st Mariner Arena beginning in 2014. According to the official release from the CAA regarding the decision to move the tournament from Richmond to Baltimore, seven of the 10 CAA schools are located within 250 miles of Baltimore, with more than 370,000 alumni from CAA schools within 100 miles of the city. This underscores the prevailing thought that Baltimore, which will host the tournament through 2016, is now better geographically-situated to host the annual tournament than Richmond (see post below).
“We appreciate the effort and resources committed by the city of Richmond, the business community and the staff at the Richmond Coliseum to promote our tournament,” CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager said. “They have been a terrific partner for the past 23 years and together we created many magic moments for our student-athletes, alumni and basketball fans in the area. However, conference realignments have shifted our fan base and geography and the move to Baltimore repositions the conference to maximize those changes.”
The Richmond Coliseum will host the 2013 CAA Tournament from March 9th – 11th. Attendance during the Richmond-hosted tournaments has exceeded 42,000 in the past five years, including a record 47,833 fans in 2012.
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Original — December 12th, 9:48 AM
Today, multiple sources are reporting that the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) will relocate its annual postseason basketball tournament to Baltimore beginning in 2014. The CAA Tournament has been held in Richmond since 1990. However, the move is unsurprising, as central Virginia is no longer the vital component of the CAA it once was.
In years past, schools like VCU, Old Dominion University, and George Mason were popular attendance draws to the Richmond Coliseum during tournament play. This year, however, VCU left the CAA for the Atlantic 10, and ODU will leave for the C-USA next year.
The move to Baltimore is logical as the Baltimore/D.C. region has a population that will likely increase tournament attendance compared to that of Richmond, is closer to George Mason, and fans of the Northeastern Huskies (Boston) and Hofstra Pride (Hempstead, New York) will now be closer to tournament play. However, fans of incoming universities like UNC-Wilmington (North Carolina) and Charleston (South Carolina) will be most inconvenienced by the move.
In 2010, Mayor Dwight Jones announced a contract extension keeping the CAA tournament in Richmond until 2014. At that time, it was estimated that the tournament contributed $5.8 million to the region annually as a result of its presence in Richmond.
Speaking about the CAA tournament leaving the City, Mayor Jones said “Richmond provided a robust and competitive bid for the 2014-2016 CAA Tournament. However, after a long and successful history in Richmond, the CAA has notified the City that they will be moving to Baltimore following the 2013 season. We understand the move to be the result of conference realignments that have shifted the fan base of the tournament.”
The Mayor added that the relationship between Richmond and the CAA has been positive over the years. “We have had a great partnership for twenty-four years with the CAA and have shared many successes,” he said. “We wish the CAA well and thank them for the long history. With respect to what’s on the city’s horizon related to our Coliseum operations, our perspective is that when one door closes, another opens.”
The 2013 tournament will be played March 9th – 11th at the Richmond Coliseum.