(Memphis) July 1, 2013 was supposed to be the day the Memphis Tigers joined the Big East, but the so-called Catholic 7 basketball schools are leaving the conference taking with it the Big East name and tournament in Madison Square Garden.
Still, some say Memphis, and tourist destinations like the Rock ‘N Soul museum, could be a big winner if the city lands a new tournament.
Josh Swee is manager at the Rock ‘N Soul Museum, “With the Rock ‘N Soul museum being attached to the FedExForum, I’d think we’d reap the benefits and especially Beale street with the restaurants and businesses. I think people who love Memphis, who love basketball would really embrace that tournament coming here.”
Memphis and the FedExForum are in the running to host a tournament for the Tigers new conference, which could be called the America 12.
It would include teams such as Louisville, if only for one year, U-Conn, Cincinnati, Houston, Temple and others.
The Convention and Visitors Bureau President Kevin Kane was out-of-town, but on the phone he said the tournament possibility is great news.
“I think this is the best silver lining of all of these teams having left the league is the fact that we thought we were out of the conference basketball tournament for a while and it looks like we’re competing to host a tournament as early as 2014,” Kane said.
Hartford, Connecticut is also competing to host the tournament. It’s the sometimes home to the UConn Huskies and its arena seats about 17,000 fans.
Greg Campbell, business operations president with the Memphis Grizzlies and FedExForum, says the FedExForum isn’t worried about the competition or challenge
“What we’ve done before taking care of NBA playoff games and also NCAA Regionals, both men and women, we can handle any tournament and we’re excited about the U of M being in this new conference. What we bring here in Memphis is Beale Street, the entertainment, the music, the soul of the city. We offer people a great chance to come to the city and vacation while they’re here” Campbell said.