American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco announced the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla. will be the site of the 2016 and 2017 American Athletic Conference (AAC) Men’s Basketball Championships. The conference tournament games will be hosted by the Central Florida Sports Commission, UCF and the Amway Center, in partnership with the City of Orlando and Orange County.
“We are pleased to bring our 2016 and 2017 men’s basketball championships to the City of Orlando, the state-of-the-art Amway Center and the community that is home to the Fiesta Bowl Champion UCF Knights,” said Aresco. “In view of our stated desire to rotate this event to various points within our conference footprint, we elected Orlando because the city put forth an outstanding bid, the venue is first-rate and the community of Orlando will offer a terrific destination for our student-athletes, coaches and fans.”
The specific championship dates for each year will be released at a later time. All eleven American Athletic Conference schools will participate in the 2016 and 2017 championships. The format for each tournament calls for three first-round games on the first day, followed by four quarterfinal games, two semifinals and the championship game. The ESPN Networks will provide television and digital coverage of both tournaments.
“As members of the American Athletic Conference, we have already had the opportunity to make our mark in competition. But we also have the opportunity to provide the conference with a great destination for its championship events,” said Todd Stansbury, UCF Vice President and Director of Athletics. “UCF is thrilled to partner in hosting an event that will greatly benefit our community and showcase the Central Florida area to the rest of the nation.”
The American Athletic Conference placed four teams in the 2014 NCAA Championship, including UConn, which went on to win the national title. The American, in its inaugural season, had the best postseason record of any Division I conference (13-4, .765).
The 2014-15 season will be the second straight year in which the American Athletic Conference has the defending men’s and women’s NCAA champions in its ranks. The American was the only conference this post-season which placed a team in the semifinals of the Men’s Final Four, the Women’s Final Four, the NIT and the WNIT.
Located on historic Church Street in Downtown Orlando, Amway Center opened in the fall of 2010 and has been recognized as one of the best facilities in the world. Amway Center is home to the NBA’s Orlando Magic and recently hosted second and third rounds of the 2014 NCAA DI Men’s Basketball Championship.
“Being awarded this championship is a testament to the first-class venues and other community assets that we are able to offer The American here in Central Florida,” said John Bisignano, president of the Central Florida Sports Commission. “We look forward to working with The American, UCF and our respective community partners to ensure the success of this prestigious event, as we fulfill our mission of driving economic development through sports.”
The American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship will attract thousands of fans from across the United States to the community, generating millions in economic impact for the region. Initial projections indicate that this event will generate more than 6,000 room nights and over $5 million of economic impact. In addition, the national exposure generated from the media and live telecasts will be immeasurable for Orlando and Orange County.
“The vision for the Amway Center was to be able to host marquee events like the American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “Coming off the heels of hosting the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, we are pleased that we can build upon that success and welcome the American Athletic Conference’s premier event to our destination.”
“Hosting the American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship at the Amway Center is a great example of what our community can accomplish when we come together for a common goal,” said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. “These events are not only exciting opportunities for our residents, but will draw thousands of people from across the country benefiting our local economy.”
The American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship will add to the already growing list of marquee events that have and will be staged at the Amway Center and other community venues. Less than four weeks removed from hosting the 2nd and 3rd rounds of March Madness at the Amway Center, the Sports Commission plans to submit bids later this year for the NCAA DI Men’s Basketball Championship 2nd and 3rd rounds, as well as regional rounds in future years. In addition, the Sports Commission and UCF will host the 2016 and 2017 NCAA Women’s Soccer College Cup at the new Orlando City Soccer Stadium.
About American Athletic Conference: The American Athletic Conference (The American), which operated as the Big East Conference from 1979 to 2013, is a proud member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and located in Providence, Rhode Island. Effective July 1, 2014, the American Athletic Conference will comprise the following 11 member institutions: the University of Central Florida; the University of Cincinnati, the University of Connecticut, East Carolina University, the University of Houston, the University of Memphis, the University of South Florida, Southern Methodist University, Temple University, Tulane University and the University of Tulsa. The U.S. Naval Academy joins as a football member in 2015-16. For more information on the Conference and its membership, please visit www.TheAmerican.org.
About the Central Florida Sports Commission: The Central Florida Sports Commission strategically solicits, creates and supports marquee sports-related events and businesses that enhance our community’s economy. The Sports Commission represents the counties of Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia, as well as the City of Orlando. The website is www.centralfloridasports.org and the Facebook page is www.facebook.com/cflsports. The Twitter account is www.twitter.com/cflsports.
About UCF: The University of Central Florida, the nation’s second-largest university with nearly 60,000 students, has grown in size, quality, diversity and reputation in its first 50 years. Today, the university offers more than 200 degree programs at its main campus in Orlando and more than a dozen other locations. For more information, visit http://www.ucf.edu/. UCF is home to a 16-sport NCAA Division I athletic department and is a proud member of the American Athletic Conference. More than 400 student-athletes represent the Knights as members of a UCF team. UCF Athletics’ stated mission is to provide opportunity to young people and develop leaders for industry, philanthropy, education and the community through the intercollegiate athletics experience. For more information, visit http://UCFKnights.com.
About Amway Center: The Orlando Magic served as the developer of the Amway Center, which hosts major national events, concerts and family shows. Opened in the fall of 2010, the facility is owned and operated by the City of Orlando on behalf of the Central Florida community. The Amway Center was designed to reflect the character of the community, meet the goals of the users and build on the legacy of sports and entertainment in Orlando. The building’s exterior features a modern blend of glass and metal materials, along with ever-changing graphics via a monumental wall along one facade. A 180-foot tall tower serves as a beacon amid the downtown skyline. The 875,000 square foot, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certified building features a sustainable, environmentally-friendly design and unmatched technology, including 1,100 digital monitors, the tallest high-definition video board in an NBA venue and multiple premium amenities available to all patrons in the building. Amway Center was recently honored with TheStadiumBusiness Awards’ 2013 Customer Experience Award and named SportsBusiness Journal's 2012 Sports Facility of the Year. For more information about the Amway Center, visit www.amwaycenter.com.