WATCH: Archived Press Conference (Begins at 03:30)
RICHMOND, Va. – The Atlantic 10 Conference announced Thursday it has entered a three-year partnership with the City of Richmond to bring the A-10 Women’s BasketballChampionship to the Richmond Coliseum beginning in 2014. The announcement was made at a joint press conference held at the Richmond Downtown Marriott.
“The opportunity to establish a long-term home for our women’s basketball championship and partner with the City of Richmond was one we could not pass up. We selected Richmond because it gives us the ability to build on our record attendance from last year’s championship and provide a true March Madness environment for our women’s basketball student-athletes,” stated A-10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade. “I want to thank our head coaches and Directors of Athletics for their leadership in this selection and commend the City of Richmond, SMG and my staff for their commitment to making this a true win-win partnership for everyone involved.”
The 2014 13-team event will take place at the Richmond Coliseum March 5-9. The championship will open with a play-in game on Wednesday the fifth, followed by four first-round games on Thursday. The four quarterfinal games will tip-off Friday morning followed by the semifinal round on Saturday which will be televised live nationally on CBS Sports Network. The finals will air live on ESPNU beginning at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday.
When the championship tips off in Richmond, it will mark just the third time in its 32-year history that it will take place at a neutral site. Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Mass., played host in 2011, while Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md., served as host in 2010. The Atlantic 10 is one of only eight conferences (out of 31 league) where the women’s basketball championship will be played at a neutral site, separate from the men’s championship.
The Atlantic 10, one of the premier women’s basketball leagues in the country, has seen at least 50 percent of its membership participate in postseason play in four the last five seasons. The A-10 has earned three NCAA Tournament bids in six of the last nine years and 17 times overall. The league has also had at least seven of its teams advance to postseason play in each of the last five years.
“I am so pleased to be welcoming the Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Championship to the city of Richmond. The A-10 is a phenomenal league and we are ready to welcome the players, the coaches and the fan base to our great city,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “This tournament has a very strong following that will strengthen our sports tourism draw and keep the city on the radar for future prestigious tournaments.”
The City’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities worked with SMG Richmond to pursue the event for the Richmond Coliseum. SMG Richmond manages Richmond’s Landmark Theater, Carpenter Theatre at Richmond CenterStage and the Richmond Coliseum for the City of Richmond.
The Richmond Coliseum has offered quality entertainment to the Richmond Metropolitan area for over 40 years. The Coliseum averages 130 events annually with an average annual attendance of over 600,000 patrons The Richmond Coliseum seats nearly 12,000 for basketball and has extensive experience in hosting college conference championships. There have been three other leagues that have held their postseason tournaments at the Coliseum. The Coliseum also hosted the 1994 NCAA Women’s Final Four.
Last season, the first three rounds of the A-10 Championship took place at Michael J. Hagen Arena ‘85 on the campus of Saint Joseph’s before heading to Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York where a finals record crowd of 4,436 saw SJU top Fordham 47-46 to earn its first A-10 title since 1999. The A-10 Championship game was the first women’s basketball championship game played in Barclays Center and the first Atlantic 10 women’s basketball championship game played in an NBA arena.
Following the success in Brooklyn, seven Atlantic 10 teams earned 2013 postseason berths. Dayton and Saint Joseph’s represented the Atlantic 10 in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Five A-10 teams were also selected to take part in the 2013 WNIT. Dayton defeated St. John’s in the first-round of the NCAA Tournament to advance to the second round.
At the conclusion of the season, the A-10 ranked ninth out of 32 Division I conferences in the final RPI rankings. Dayton paced the league, coming in 17th among the nation’s top teams, while four additional teams were ranked among the top 100.
About the A-10
The Atlantic 10 Conference was formed in 1976 and consists of 13 diverse members across seven states and Washington, D.C. The membership consists of University of Dayton, Duquesne University, Fordham University, George Mason University, The George Washington University, La Salle University, the University of Massachusetts, the University of Rhode Island, University of Richmond St. Bonaventure University, Saint Joseph’s University, Saint Louis University and Virginia Commonwealth University. The mission and goal of the Atlantic 10 is to provide an enhanced student-athlete experience through 21 nationally competitive championship sports, while securing strong brand, equity, and revenue resources for its member institutions. The conference is committed to integrity, educational excellence and providing quality equitable championship experiences for more than 6,000 student-athletes, coaches, and support staff.
The city of Richmond is the capital of Virginia and is one of the most historic cities in America. Richmond is centrally located along the East Coast, easy to access, offers extensive lodging and tourist attractions and is a strong supporter of athletic and cultural events. Richmond’s complete livability can be measured in numerous ways including its beautiful neighborhoods with striking architecture; a vast cultural and educational heritage befitting its more than 200,000 citizens, and noted historic prestige tracing back to the early English settlers. Nationally recognized for its vitality and New Economy embrace, Richmond's diversified employment base extends from chemical, food and tobacco manufacturing to biotechnology, semiconductors and high-tech fibers. The city consistently ranks among "Best Places to Live and Work in America" in several national publications.
SMG Richmond manages Richmond’s Landmark Theater, Carpenter Theatre at Richmond CenterStage and the Richmond Coliseum. Since 1977, SMG has provided management services to more than 220 public assembly facilities worldwide, including arenas, stadiums, theatres and performing arts centers, equestrian facilities, convention, congress and exhibition centers, science centers, and a variety of other venues. Across the globe, SMG manages more than 12 million square feet (1.1 million square meters) of exhibition space and more than 1.5 million arena and theatre seats. As the recognized global industry leader, SMG provides venue management, sales, marketing, event booking and programming, construction and design consulting, and pre-opening services. SMG also offers food and beverage operations through its concessions and catering company SAVOR, currently serving more than 83 accounts worldwide.