Early March would be eerily quiet in downtown Hartford without the Big East women's basketball tournament. Thankfully, that won't happen.
Bring on the noise. The tournament will remain at the XL Center for at least the next two years, it was announced Tuesday.
The Big East has held the women's tournament in Hartford since 2004, and has drawn more than 900,000 fans in that stretch. But the contract expired after last season, and other venues, including the Mohegan Sun Arena in the Uncasville section of Montville, made a play for the tournament. However, several member schools objected to playing at a casino site.
The Mohegan Sun's loss is Hartford's much-deserved gain. In the eight years that the tourney has been here, the city's Hospitality Task Force and others have learned how to make this a successful event, with everything from street banners and receptions to school visits and other activBIG ESities.
Women's basketball is growing in popularity, thanks in no small part to the success of the UConn Huskies, and is a great niche for Hartford and a boost for the economy. It's imperative that the folks who run the tournament keeping working on their game so that Hartford can keep the tournament after 2013.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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