MAAC Names MassMutual Center in Springfield Site for 2012-2014 MAAC Basketball Championships

Courtesy:  MAAC Sports
Release:  December 23, 2009
Springfield's MassMutual Center
Springfield's MassMutual Center
Courtesy: MAAC Sports

Springfield, Mass. - The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference has named the MassMutual Center in Springfield as the site for the 2012-2014 MAAC Basketball Championships.

"The MAAC Council of Presidents have unanimously voted to accept the bid from Springfield, Massachusetts to host the 2012-14 Men's and Women's Basketball Championships at the MassMutual Center," MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor stated.  The decision concludes an 18-month process that was assisted by services of consultant Rich Oriolo from Stafford Sports, LLC, which is headquartered in Medford, N.J.

"In reaching its decision, the Council concluded it is time to take the championships to a neutral site," Ensor noted.  "The MAAC has built the event to the level where the next step in its evolution is a neutral arena in a destination city.  In Springfield, the MAAC membership can grow the championship in an environment that favors no single program because of location, and presents its fans the opportunity to enjoy the Basketball Hall of Fame and the amenities of the Pioneer Valley.

"The coaches and administrators had expressed to the Council and league office during the selection process that home sites have become too big of a playing and recruiting advantage for the host school.  This is understandable, and speaks to the increased competitiveness of the MAAC.  It seems appropriate and financially sustainable to move beyond the comfortable confines of an arena with a home school fan base. I would note that the MassMutual Center and the Local Organizing Committee have guaranteed the league its best ever financial result.

"Springfield was my individual preference for a neutral site as it is the perfect market for the event as the league moves from a home school arena.  It has a proven track record in hosting neutral site events, an established LOC with strong corporate tie-ins to the local community, and the valuable asset of the Basketball Hall of Fame, which is offering the MAAC use of its facilities for the championships and a permanent exhibit on MAAC basketball for the duration of the hosting agreement. This association with the Basketball Hall of Fame offers the MAAC the opportunity to be directly associated with the history of the sport and provides the MAAC and its institutions with unique branding within the college basketball community," Ensor concluded, who is in his 22nd year as Commissioner of the MAAC.

The MassMutual Center is a 8,000-seat multi-purpose arena that is home to the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League and the Springfield Armor of the NBA Development League.  The building, located in the "Birthplace of Basketball", will serve as host of the 2010 and 2011 NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Elite Eight.  Springfield has hosted the event 20 times previously, including the last four years which have featured historically successful attendance numbers and an enhanced schedule of Championship Week events.

"We are honored to bring the MAAC Tournaments to the birthplace of basketball," said James E. Rooney, executive director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, which owns the MassMutual Center.  "The impact that the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and its fans will bring to Springfield is even greater than their economic stimulus.  This announcement advances our goal of making Springfield first in the minds of basketball fans across this country as Basketball Town, U.S.A.  I am grateful for the work of our partners, the Basketball Hall of Fame, the City of Springfield and the GSCVB, in making this bid a reality."

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is prepared to represent the MAAC in their museum with an exhibit which will position the MAAC with the legends and history of the game of basketball.  The Hall of Fame honors exceptional basketball players, all-time great coaches, referees, executives, and other major contributors to the game.  Named after basketball inventor Dr. James Naismith, its mission is to preserve and promote basketball at all levels and serve as the ultimate library of the sports' history.

"The Basketball Hall of Fame is extremely proud to have been an integral part of the team that aggressively pursued and ultimately were awarded the MAAC Championships for 2012-2014," said John L. Doleva, President & CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.  "As Springfield and the region continue to use basketball and the Hall of Fame as a platform for economic development and sports tourism, we are pleased that this event will contribute over $4 million in economic impact each year it resides in the city.  The MAAC is a first-class conference deserving of Hall of Fame treatment."

Formerly known as the Springfield Civic Center, the arena opened in 1972 and was owned and operated by the City of Springfield until 1990, when a six-year period of contracted private management began.  In February 1996, the SCC returned to city operation.  In November 1997, the Massachusetts Legislature authorized funding for a major renovation and enlargement of the facility.  Six months later, the Legislature formally transferred ownership of the SCC to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  In April 1998, the Commonwealth turned the building over to the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA), which currently owns the facility.  In November 2003, the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company entered into a relationship with the MCCA, earning naming rights for the facility. 

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno extended his appreciation to the MAAC officials for choosing the City of Springfield as the host city for the 2012-2014 Basketball Championships and to local officials who worked tirelessly to secure the Championships.  "As the birthplace of basketball, our City has always had strong ties to the history of the game and Springfield is a great location with the amenities players and spectators will be looking for," said Sarno. "The championship games will draw thousands of people to the downtown area and will have a large economic impact for downtown businesses," stated Sarno. My administration will continue to be aggressive and utilize the Basketball Hall of Fame as a catalyst to bring more sports conventions," added Sarno.  

The intersection of Interstates 90 and 91 - the Crossroads of New England - is only minutes from the MassMutual Center.  Amtrak rail and national motor coach service provide even more ground-transportation options, and all major carriers fly into Bradley International Airport, less than 20 minutes from Springfield. 

"The GSCVB is delighted that the MAAC Tournaments will be held in Springfield," said Mary Kay Wydra, President, Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau.  "Players and conference administrators will fill more than 600 hotel rooms in the region and due to the close proximity of the member institutions; we anticipate a large number of fans adding significantly to the economic impact of this event."

"Hospitality services, coordinated by the GSCVB, will help to make this an event to remember.  From FanFest and educational programming to dine-arounds and welcome signage, the region looks forward to welcoming the MAAC and showing off all that the Pioneer Valley has to offer," said Wydra.

Below is a chart that outlines the distance between the 10 member institutions of the MAAC to this year's championships and to the MassMutual Center:

MAAC School


2010 Citizens Bank MAAC Basketball Championships (Albany)

2012-2014 MAAC Basketball Championships (Springfield)

Canisius College

Buffalo, N.Y,



Fairfield University

Fairfield, Conn.



Iona College

New Rochelle, N.Y.



Loyola University Maryland

Baltimore, Md.



Manhattan College

Riverdale, N.Y.



Marist College

Poughkeepsie, N.Y.



Niagara University

Niagara University, N.Y.



Rider University

Lawrenceville, N.J.



Saint Peter's College

Jersey City, N.J.



Siena College

Loudonville, N.Y.



The 2010 Citizens Bank MAAC Basketball Championships will take place at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y. on Thursday, March 4 through Monday, March 8. The men's championship game will be televised Monday night, March 8, at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN.  The Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Conn. will host the 2011 championships. 



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