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ACC basketball tournament to return to Charlotte in 2019

Eleven years after it last hosted the ACC men’s basketball tournament, Charlotte receives the honors again.

Time Warner Cable Arena will be the site of the 2019 ACC men’s tournament, the conference announced Thursday. It will mark the 13th time, and first since 2008, the league’s tournament will be in Charlotte.

The conference now has its tournament sites set through 2020. Greensboro will host next season, followed by Washington, D.C.’s Verizon Center. The ACC officially announced Wednesday that Brooklyn’s Barclays Center will host the event in 2017 and 2018 before returning to North Carolina for Charlotte in 2019 and Greensboro in 2020.

“We’ve played the ACC tournament in three different facilities in Charlotte, and the current one that (Bobcats President) Fred (Whitfield) and the Bobcats have and run is just outstanding,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said at a news conference in Greensboro on Thursday. “It’s one of the best out there. And certainly the same would be said for Barclays in New York as the newest building in the NBA, and there are only a couple newer than the one in Charlotte.”

When Charlotte last held the event in 2008, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority estimated the tournament brought an economic impact of $17.22 million. The ACC has three more member schools than it did when 12 teams descended upon Charlotte in 2008. Maryland will leave the conference in July and Louisville will join.

In a statement, Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan, who played in three ACC tournaments while at North Carolina in the 1980s, said he was “thrilled” to have the “premier conference tournament in the country” back in Charlotte. Whitfield said fans enjoyed Charlotte’s “vibrant” uptown environment in 2008, but he admitted there will be work to do to improve a tournament 11 years later.

“We aren’t resting on our laurels. We do have a building that is relatively new – it is 10 years old,” Whitfield said. “We’re in the process now of looking with our city officials to see how we can make some renovations, refresh our building.

“The competitive landscape is completely different than it was in 2008 with new teams coming into the conference. What we’ll do as a community is we’ll do everything we can to give ourselves an opportunity to be successful to bring additional ACC tournaments to Charlotte.”

In order to refresh the building, Time Warner Cable Arena needs $41.9 million of work in upgrades, according to a list compiled by the Bobcats and the CRVA. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver visited Charlotte earlier this week and, with those figures, said the arena needs upgrades before the NBA considers bringing the All-Star Game back to the city.

By 2020, Greensboro, where the ACC is headquartered, will have hosted 27 ACC tournaments – the most of any other city. The Greensboro Coliseum added $16.5 million in upgrades in the past year.

In 2017, the ACC will take the tournament to New York for the first time in the six-decade-plus history of the league. In the past year the ACC has added Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Syracuse as full members in basketball.

“Based on the unanimous vote of going to New York as well as coming back to North Carolina, it says a great deal about where we are as a league internally,” said Swofford, who added a Saturday evening championship game for the 2015 tournament and beyond is still to be determined.

“There’s an understanding within the room that there’s a terrific past and great tradition here, as well as a new grouping of schools that have joined the excellent ones that were already part of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and a respect for all.”

The ACC has held its football championship in Charlotte since 2010, and last month Swofford announced a six-year deal with the city through 2019.

Charlotte is also set to host the CIAA basketball tournament through 2020. The CIAA tournament is typically held two weeksbefore the ACC tournament, and in 2014 the CRVA estimated the CIAA tournament brought it just less than $30 million in direct spending.