CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The ACC men’s basketball tournament will be played at Charlotte’s Spectrum Center in 2019.
It will return to North Carolina after a three-year hiatus that saw the league play in Washington, D.C. in 2016 and in Brooklyn, New York in 2017 and 2018.
It was the longest the tournament had ever gone without a game played in North Carolina, and if commissioner John Swofford has any say in the matter (he does), that will remain the case for a while. After Charlotte in 2019, the tournament will go to Greensboro, North Carolina in 2020, back to Washington in 2021 and Brooklyn in 2022.
“I really like the rotation we have with those four cities,” he said. “I think it serves our league extremely well and we need to be in different parts of the league with our footprint at this point in time, and we’ve talked about New York before. Washington, the last two times we’ve been there, has been tremendous.”
Charlotte is a first-class city with modern transportation, a booming downtown, plenty of hotels, restaurants and all the amenities that a tournament-going crowd would expect in this day and age.
Greensboro, does not. It’s inclusion in the rotation remains a point of contention for many in the league that aren’t part of its long history. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim famously said in 2017 “There’s no value to playing in Greensboro. None.”
The ACC Tournament was first played in Raleigh in 1954 and the first 13 games were played at NC State’s Reynolds Coliseum. In 1967, the tournament visited Greensboro for the first time, then to Charlotte for three years, and then back to Greensboro for 10 of the next 12 seasons, with two trips to Landover, Maryland intermixed.
The tournament has also been to Atlanta and Tampa over the years, but always seems to find a way back to North Carolina and specifically, the Greensboro Coliseum, which has hosted the event 27 times, the last in 2015.
“Then you have North Carolina, where the tournament was built and became what it became in Greensboro and in Charlotte,” Swofford said. “And I can’t guarantee you the future. Ultimately the schools vote on it. But I think most everyone in our league would tell you this rotation is serving us well, has served us well. And that’s why we basically came right back to it for those next two years. …
“So that thought of respecting the past and embracing the future as well as the present really relates to a lot of things and how we try to address things in our league. But it really fits the tournament rotation from my perspective.”