Bridgeport's Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard to host 2011 MAAC Basketball Championship
School officials from Fairfield University say they are excited that Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Conn. nabbed the opportunity again to host a major Division I college basketball tournament. The winner of the 2011 Spark Energy Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Men's and Women's Basketball Championships will each receive the conference's automatic bid to the 2011 NCAA basketball tournament.
Fairfield Athletic Director Gene Doris said, "Both our men and women's teams look forward to playing for an NCAA bid on our home floor at Webster Bank Arena."
The five-day basketball competition is scheduled for March 3-7, and MAAC executives said they are pleased the city of Bridgeport was selected again to host the men and women's basketball tournaments. "Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard has proven to be a great venue for the MAAC championship. It is a significant achievement for Bridgeport, and the result of a strong partnership between the MAAC, Spark Energy, Webster Bank and many local companies. Credit is also due to the volunteers who have come together to create a celebration of MAAC basketball," said Rich Ensor, MAAC Commissioner. Organizers of the tournament said they are impressed with the arena and the outstanding fan base of MAAC alumni and local supporters who enjoy college basketball.
The Bridgeport, Conn. facility hosted the 2007 tournament and has also been the site of a pair of NCAA women's regional games. The 10-year-old arena, which holds 10,000 spectators, is home to Fairfield's basketball teams as well as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League.
The basketball tournament is also expected to generate a significant amount of business for the Greater Bridgeport area. With a total of 20 teams and 18 games scheduled, it's estimated the revenue from restaurants, lodging, ticket sales and other incidentals will bring a much needed economic boost to the region along with a lot of thrilling basketball action. "We will have 10 men's teams and 10 women's teams. That alone is 1,200 hotel rooms before any fans come to town," said Ken Taylor, MAAC Associate Commissioner. In addition, participating Bridgeport restaurants will serve as alumni and fan headquarters for each of the 10 MAAC schools.
Tournament coordinators are also planning a number of fun events during the week of competition, and work is underway to provide a wide range of activities geared towards children and families. The list of events includes:
- Park City SportsFest presented by People's United Bank - Saturday, March 5 from 1-5 p.m. Frontage Road and Main Street, Bridgeport. Health and wellness activities from sports and fitness organizations. Participating groups include: Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Fairfield University cheerleaders and dance team, The First Tee youth golf, Martial Arts Spirit Academy, and Simone Lima's Zumba program. Sponsored by the Fairfield County Sports Commission. Events are free.
- MAAC College Fair - Saturday, March 5 from 12-2 p.m. College admission's representatives from all 10 MAAC schools will conduct a college fair at the arena for high school students interested in attending college. Participants will receive three free tickets to the women's semifinals.
- Bounce to the Arena - Sunday, March 6 at 12 p.m. A Bridgeport Police Athletic League fundraiser that will have a parade of kids bouncing their way to Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard for the men's semifinals.
- Bus Brigade - Monday, March 7 at 1 p.m. Bridgeport area school children will participate in a field trip to the women's championship game. Over 1,000 middle school students have committed to attend.
Since 2002, the MAAC basketball tournament has welcomed more than 325,000 fans, with an average annual attendance of 36,000 spectators during the last few years. Tournament games will be televised live on ESPNU, ESPN2, MSG, MSG 2, MSG Plus or MAACSports.com. The complete broadcast schedule and tournament details can be found at www.maacsports.com.
Basketball fans can also choose from a variety of ticket packages including a family four-pack with refreshments for only $65. To purchase tickets for the 2011 MAAC tournament please visit Ticketmaster or charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.
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Media Contact: Mark Gregorio, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on February 25, 2011
Vol. 43, No. 212