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The league formally introduced new members Pitt, Syracuse and Notre Dame in New York City instead of Greensboro, N.C.
Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford (from left) Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim, NASDAQ head of listings Bob McCooey and Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer celebrate the ringing of the closing bell on Monday in New York. The ACC visited the NASDAQ Market Site in Times Square to officially announce the addition of its three new members: Notre Dame, Pitt and Syracuse.
ACC commissioner John Swofford (left) and NASDAQ head of listings Bob McCooey chat before the ringing of the closing bell on Monday.
Chuck Liddy | theACC.com
ACC mascots visited tourist sites like the Empire State Building in New York City on Monday.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
NEW YORK — The ACC traded in Tobacco Road for Times Square on Monday.
Monday was the first official day of ACC membership for Syracuse, Pittsburgh and non-football member Notre Dame. Instead of marking the occasion with a gathering at the league office in Greensboro, N.C., or on the campus of one of the new members, the ACC held a press event at NASDAQ’s Times Square headquarters.
The ACC is now in a New York state of mind.
“It’s the media capital of the world, obviously — a lot of energy here,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said. “With our new membership … we wanted to showcase the Atlantic Coast Conference in New York City and to show that this is a very important part of our new footprint.”
Swofford was joined in Manhattan by Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer, Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim, Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Mike Brey, Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher and Pitt-turned-NFL star Larry Fitzgerald.
After meeting with the press, the six men took part in NASDAQ’s closing bell ceremony.
The mascots of all 15 ACC teams spent Sunday and Monday cavorting at the Empire State Building and other tourist spots.
“We’ve got the name right now — Atlantic Coast, all the way up and down the Atlantic Coast,” Beamer said with a grin. “We had to work all these years to get the name right.”
New York is a pro sports city, not a college sports hotbed. But thanks to the new members, Swofford envisions a lot of potential ACC fans in the city.
“A number of our schools have significant alumni numbers in and around this city,” he said. “We would be remiss if we didn’t take advantage of making sure that our presence in New York was … known.”
It was the league’s second Big Apple press gathering in as many weeks. Last week, the ACC announced that it will send one of its teams to the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium beginning with the 2014 season.
The league hopes to hold its men’s basketball tournament in New York one day, either at Madison Square Garden or at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“When you’ve got schools that have a significant presence here to begin with, we would be remiss not to give the conference full consideration for maximizing our brand in the media capital of the world when it’s now truly a part of our footprint,” Swofford said.
Syracuse, Pitt and Notre Dame have left the Big East for the ACC.
The ACC has always been a southern-based league, but Boeheim expects the marriage of the conference and the northern schools to work.
“It’s completely different now than it has been,” Boeheim said of the ACC. “You’re talking about a completely different league — there’s six schools that played in the Big East [that are] now in the ACC. … It’s really a combination of the two leagues.”
Former Big East members Virginia Tech and Miami began ACC play in 2004, and Boston College made the switch in 2005. Louisville will make the same move next year as the replacement for Maryland.
Swofford is looking forward to the ACC teaming up next year with an “iconic stadium” and an “iconic franchise” for the Pinstripe Bowl. Not only will an ACC team play a Big Ten team at Yankee Stadium each December as part of the six-year deal, but there will also be ACC signs in the stadium during Yankees games.
Swofford said that next year, the ACC will switch from a pecking order to a tiering system to assign its teams to bowls (other than its top two teams) so the same school doesn’t keep going to the same bowl. The ACC’s third-, fourth- and fifth-best ACC squads could be Pinstripe possibilities.
While the ACC is discussing holding its men’s basketball tournament in New York periodically, no deal with an arena has been struck yet.
“The tournament’s probably going to rotate through here, and it almost has to,” Brey said. “If we’re going to be the best basketball conference, you’ve got to get through New York City.”
“Any time you’re in New York City, it’s a great place for the fans, it’s a great place media-wise,” Boeheim said. “The Big East tournament being in New York was a big contributor to the growth of the Big East.”
The addition of Syracuse, Pitt and Notre Dame will make the ACC arguably the best men’s basketball conference in the nation. ACC basketball will get even tougher when Louisville joins the league next year as a replacement for Maryland.
Brey expects the ACC to get eight to 10 NCAA tournament bids every year.
ACC basketball can be even better than Big East basketball was, said Boeheim.
“When Louisville gets here, you have four teams that have been to the [NCAA] tournament almost every year and had success in the tournament,” Boeheim said. “You add Duke and North Carolina to that mixture, you’re really talking about potentially the best basketball conference ever.
“Maryland this year, Virginia, these are all great basketball schools. … It’s really exciting to be part of it.”
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