Hartford to Host American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball

12 Mar, 2015

City Especially Busy on Saturday, March 14, with St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Spirit Festival

Connecticut’s Capital City is ready to welcome this week’s 2015 American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship to the XL Center. Global Spectrum, the City of Hartford, Hartford Business Improvement District (BID), Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau (CTCSB), Hartford Parking Authority, Hartford Hospitality Task Force, the MetroHartford Alliance, Capital Region Development Authority, CTTransit, Connecticut Department of Transportation, LAZ Parking, and other organizations are working to make sure that visitors have a terrific experience while in the city.

The American Athletic Conference Championship will take place from Thursday, March 12 to Sunday,
March 15, 2015 at the XL Center in Downtown Hartford. All 11 American Athletic Conference teams will compete for the conference title, including the 2014 NCAA champion University of Connecticut. The 11 teams that comprise the American Athletic Conference have a combined six NCAA titles, made 22 Final Four appearances, 67 Sweet Sixteen appearances and 173 NCAA tournament appearances. (Full Championship game schedule is on page 2)

Over the four-day basketball competition, Championship organizers expect 50,000 attendees, with a projected economic impact to the Greater Hartford region of approximately $4 million, according to the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau. Over 3,000 room nights are expected to be booked in at least seven Greater Hartford hotels by officials, athletes, cheerleaders, bands, alumni groups, and fans. An estimated 1,060 jobs in the hospitality industry will be supported by this tournament, and more than $335,000 in Connecticut Sales Tax generated.

Saturday, March 14 will be an especially busy day in Downtown Hartford. Fans attending Saturday’s Semifinals basketball games also can enjoy the 44th Annual Greater Hartford St. Patrick's Day Parade which steps off at 11 a.m. on Capitol Avenue near the Connecticut State Capitol Building – the annual parade is expected to draw tens of thousands of people. In addition, the Spirit Festival National Competition will be held at the Connecticut Convention Center on both Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. One of the largest cheer & dance national championships in the Northeast, the two-day event will involve approximately 7,000 athletes, their families, and officials who will utilize 2,400 room nights at close to a dozen area hotels. Links to these Saturday events and other important Hartford information can be found at For Saturday traffic/parking updates and tips, follow @hartforddotcom on Twitter.

To help ensure that the four-day Championship and all of the Saturday event activities are coordinated and enjoyable for visitors, a variety of features and promotions are planned. They include:

  • The American 2015 Championship Fan Guide featuring a dash shuttle map, event schedule and Fan Fest information is available at the XL Center (or can be downloaded at, the Greater Hartford Welcome Center at 100 Pearl Street in Hartford, at participating city hotels and restaurants, and at Bradley International Airport’s Info Desk;

  • 2015 Basketball Fan Fest activities in the XL Center’s Exhibition Hall will take place on Thursday from 2:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 12 noon to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 12 noon to 3 p.m. Admission to the Fan Fest activities are free for the public – whether or not they hold game tickets. Highlights will include: Memorabilia from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame that detail the history of basketball; a Half Court Challenge where you can test your basketball skills against fellow fans for a chance to win prizes; a Kid's Zone with basketball inflatables, sign making and activities for children of all ages; the Taste of the American featuring specialty menu items from the hometowns of each of the participating universities (you must purchase tokens to sample foods); a Man Cave & Game Room lounge area featuring multiple TVs, and games; a Beer Garden with a full-size trailer bar for the ultimate tailgating experience; plus a photo booth, First Alert Weather Center, Sports Desk, social media hub, giveaways and more;

  • Eleven (11) Downtown restaurants will each serve as the fan base for one of the 11 participating teams. On all four days, they will offer a 15 percent discount off food to anyone who presents a ticket stub or official team credential. Arch Street Tavern (USF); Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ (Tulsa); Black Bear Saloon (Cincinnati); Black-eyed Sally’s (Temple); Burger Baby (Houston); City Steam Brewery Café (UConn); Hot Tomato’s (SMU); Sorella (Tulane); The Russian Lady (UCF); The Tavern Downtown (East Carolina) and Vaughan’s Public House (Memphis). In addition, Infinity Music Hall Bistro, Nixs Hartford, Peppercorn’s Grill, Salute, and Ted’s Montana Grill also will offer discounts to ticketholders;

  • On Thursday and Friday, many Downtown garages and surface lots near the XL Center will offer a Special Event Parking rate of $6 if the driver presents a game ticket, credential, or wears a hat or clothing item of one of the participating basketball teams;

  • On Saturday, Hartford Parking Authority operators will institute a color-coded parking system to make it easier for visitors to find their cars after the events. On both Saturday and Sunday, Downtown garages and surface lots located North of Asylum St. and South of Pleasant St. will offer a Special Event Parking rate of $6 per day;

  • dash Shuttle buses will extend hours (operated by CTTransit): on Thursday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 12 midnight, on Saturday 3 p.m. to 12 midnight; and on Sunday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Also on Saturday, local and express bus service serving Downtown will be rerouted during parade road closures;

  • All four days, more than 100 Welcome community and business volunteers will join the Hartford BID’s Ambassadors to greet visitors, and provide directions and answer questions inside the XL Center Fan Fest, outside the building and throughout Downtown. These community and business volunteers will wear yellow vests and hold Welcome signs;

  • Championship Welcome Banners already are posted on major Downtown streets. Colorful flags from all of the 11 participating teams will be hung on Pratt Street. Championship Welcome Posters and Banners are in place in Downtown shops and restaurants. The Outdoor Marquees at the XL Center and at the Connecticut Convention Center will welcome the fans and teams;

  • Electronic message signs on I-91, I-84 and Route 2 and highway advisory radio station 1670-AM, operated by the Conn. Department of Transportation, will notify drivers about Saturday Downtown parking information, as well as delays or ramp closures entering the city.


Thursday, March 12 through Sunday, March 15, 2015 at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn.

Thursday, March 12 - First Round- Session 1:

  • Game 1:  3:30 p.m. - East Carolina vs. UCF (ESPNU)

  • Game 2:  6 p.m. - Tulane vs. Houston (ESPNews)

  • Game 3:  8 p.m. - UConn vs. USF (ESPNews)

Friday, March 13 - Quarterfinals - Session 3

  • Game 4:  12 Noon - SMU vs. Winner of Game 1 (ESPN2)

  • Game 5:  2 p.m. - Temple vs. Memphis (ESPN2)

  • Game 6:  7 p.m. - Tulsa vs. Winner of Game 2 (ESPNU)

  • Game 7:  9 p.m. - Cincinnati vs. Winner of Game 3 (ESPNU)

Saturday, March 14 - Semifinals

  • Game 8:  3 p.m. - Winner of Game 4 vs. Winner of Game 5 (ESPN2)

  • Game 9:  5 p.m. - Winner of Game 6 vs. Winner of Game 7 (ESPN2)

Sunday, March 15 - Championship Game:

  • Game 10:  3:15 p.m. - Winner of Game 8 vs. Winner of Game 9 (ESPN)

TICKETS:  All-session and individual tickets are available now at, by calling 1-877-522-8499, or visiting the Agera Energy Box Office.

Group sales (10 or more) information and discounts are available by contacting 860-548-2000.

For general fan information about the Championship, visit

  • For full information about the American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship, including game schedule, Fan Fest information, and ticket sales, visit

  • For media interviews about the Championship at the XL Center, contact Erin Bilton at 860-990-6074 or Cell 860-716-3283.

  • The 44th Annual Greater Hartford St. Patrick's Day Parade will step off at 11 a.m. on Capitol Avenue near the Connecticut State Capitol Building. There will be road closures. For a map of the parade route and more information, visit

  • For a Downtown street and parking map and parking directions, visit and click on the banner for The American Championship.

  • For a map of CTTransit’s dash shuttle bus and information about rerouted local Downtown express bus service on Saturday, visit

Links to these events/organization and other important Hartford information can be found at


Subscribe to SDM