May 29, 2013
LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. - The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Basketball Championships are returning to Albany. The MAAC Council of Presidents voted unanimously on Tuesday in New York City to accept the Times Union Center's bid to host the tournament from 2015-17.
"It is with great pleasure that I am back in Albany," said MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor during a press conference Wednesday morning at the Times Union Center. "In the end, the decision was focused on the history Albany has had in hosting great MAAC Championships. The student athlete experience was better at the Times Union Center. The MAAC staff and I are looking forward to coming back to Albany and we hope to make the 2015-17 MAAC Championships memorable."
The Times Union Center, formerly known as Knickerbocker Arena and Pepsi Arena, has served along with Siena College as the host for the MAAC Basketball Championships 15 times in the past 24 years since Siena joined the MAAC in 1989-90. The most recent Tournament in Albany in 2010 drew a MAAC Championships record 53,569 fans including 10,769 for the Championship Game between Siena and Fairfield.
"I just want to say thank you for bringing the Tournament back here," added Bob Belber, SMG General Manager of the Times Union Center. "In addition to two exciting college basketball championships, the Capital District will see a positive impact for the local economy. We are honored to once again have the MAAC Championships tip off in Albany."
The MAAC has enjoyed great turnout for the conference championships in Albany. In addition to 2010, the arena drew more than 50,000 fans in both 2000 and 2009 and 11 times drew single game crowds of 10,000 or more. A record 12,231 fans attended the first MAAC Tournament game in Albany between Siena and Canisius on Mar. 3, 1990.
"Earning the MAAC Championships back is a testament to the basketball fans in the Capital Region who support college basketball," noted Siena College Director of Athletics John D'Argenio. "The Times Union Center gives all member schools an energized environment to compete in and the atmosphere rivals that of any college basketball championships."
The 2014 MAAC Basketball Championships will be held at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass. for a third straight season before returning to Albany for a 16th time in March 2015.