Anonymous sources within the Atlantic Coast Conference are telling ESPN that the conference is “thoroughly investigating” playing its men’s basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon and Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim are the main proponents, though Dixon told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Wednesday that he thinks “it would be difficult to overcome the tournament’s Tobacco Road roots”.
Several issues stand in the way, including the Big East having a deal with MSG to hold the Big East Tournament there through 2026. MSG can get out of its deal before 2026 if the new Big East doesn’t reach certain benchmarks, however.
MSG executive vice president Joel Fisher was noncommittal about the ACC playing there, noting in March “I don’t want to speculate about (the ACC).”
ESPN has been accused of formenting the latest round of conference movement, undercutting the old Big East and strengthening the ACC. The new Big East signed a long-term TV deal with Fox Sports One, netting each school more than twice what the ESPN deal would have made them.
Despite the legal and contractual obligations by MSG, a source said, “We’ll be playing there … It’s just a matter of getting all the legal ramifications worked out.”
Information from ESPN.com’s Andy Katz was used in this report.