Atlanta is one of several cities being considered as a site for the Sun Belt’s men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, as well as home for its conference offices.
In addition to Atlanta, Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson said they are considering New Orleans, currently the conference’s home, Orlando, Nashville, Memphis and Birmingham.
“It’s very, very preliminary,” he said. Georgia State is joining the Sun Belt for all sports except men’s soccer for the 2013-14 season.
Benson toured Gwinnett Arena, which he sid he liked, on Friday with members of Georgia State’s athletic department and the Atlanta Sports Council.
The basketball tournaments are contracted to play in Hot Springs, Ark. through the 2013-14 season. The city also has a 30-day window after the ’13 tournament to exclusively negotiate another contract with the Sun Belt. Benson said the city is also in the running.
“The priority is finding the right location for our basketball tournament,” Benson said. He said they want a city that will be good for fans to travel to, that will provide a good experience and will result in good attendance. Because the conference spreads from Texas to Florida, he said somewhere in the middle would be ideal.
The men’s championship game in which Western Kentucky defeated North Texas earlier this year was attended by 4,216. The men’s tournament had a total attendance of 16,109 and the women’s had 13,253.
– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu