ACC Baseball Tournament set for 4-year DBAP run

May. 15, 2014 @ 05:23 PM

The ACC sought a home for its baseball tournament and Durham is glad to provide it.

On Thursday, at the league meetings Amelia Island, Fla., ACC commissioner John Swofford announced the league baseball tournament will be held at Durham Bulls Athletic Park for four consecutive years, beginning in May 2015.

“Our membership had a desire for the championship to find a home, and through its bid, Durham displayed its abilities to be that home,” Swofford said in a statement. “They showed a commitment to enhancing the event with their facility upgrades and their extensive promotional campaign with the Triangle Sports Commission and Capitol Broadcasting.”

Durham has been the site of the ACC Tournament eight previous times, including three of the past five years. This year’s tournament starts Tuesday at Greensboro’s NewBridge Bank Park.

In 2013, at the DBAP, the tournament set records for single-game (11,329) and championship game (8,697) attendance.

“This is an incredible opportunity for both the ACC and the Durham community to shine,” Casey Steinbacher, president and CEO of the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, said. “Baseball has been a key ingredient to the rebirth of Durham, and we believe it is also strategically positioned to be a key ingredient to the future success of Durham. It is a match made in heaven by the baseball Gods, and we are excited to take full advantage of it!”

Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Shelly Green said the 2015 event is expected to generate $2.8 million in economic impact to the city. Over the four-year run, Green said the total impact figures to top $12 million.

The timing of the tournament, about 10 days after the busy graduation weekend is completed and those visitors are gone, is particularly important.

“The most important thing that makes this so valuable, apart from the soft side of being able to give attendees a great experience in Durham, is that this particular weekend of the year is very slow in Durham,” Green said in an email. “So you will essentially be filling hotel rooms and restaurants when they need it the most. This is a fantastic business opportunity for Durham!”

The city of Durham and the Bulls agreed to a new lease agreement last year that keeps the Class AAA team playing at the DBAP through at least 2034. As part of that agreement, the 19-year-old stadium underwent more than $20 million in renovations.

Durham, Charlotte, Greensboro, Winston-Salem and St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Fla., were in the running to host the ACC Tournament. Next year’s tournament will be held from May 19-25, 2015.

Jim Goodman, president and CEO of the Capitol Broadcasting Company that owns the Bulls, is confident the DBAP will be the tournament’s home even beyond this four-year deal.

“We appreciate the vote of confidence from the athletic directors,” Goodmon said. “I would like to think that this is just the beginning, that Durham and the Triangle will prove over the next four years that our community can be the permanent home of the ACC Baseball Championships.”

Baseball isn’t the only ACC sport that will determine its championship in the Triangle in the 2014-15 school year.

The ACC also announced Thursday that the league field hockey championship will be held at Duke on Nov. 6, 7 and 9.

After the first round and quarterfinal men’s soccer matches are held on campus sites, the semifinals and final will be at Cary’s WakeMed Soccer Park on Nov. 14 and 16.

On Feb. 21-22, North Carolina will host the ACC field hockey championship in Chapel Hill for the first time since 1980.

For the seventh consecutive year, Cary Tennis Park will be the site of the ACC men’s and women’s tennis championships. Next year’s championships will be April 22-26, 2015