CAA men’s basketball tournament moving to Charleston, S.C.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WAVY) — William & Mary basketball fans will have to travel a little farther to see the Tribe play in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.

The CAA announced on Thursday that it has agreed to a three-year deal to play its men’s basketball tournament at the North Charleston Coliseum in Charleston, South Carolina beginning in 2017.

The tournament has been held in Baltimore since 2014. Before that, the CAA held the tournament at the Richmond Coliseum for 24 consecutive years, but when Old Dominion, VCU and George Mason left the conference, it was moved to Baltimore.

Last year’s championship game in Baltimore between Northeastern and William & Mary drew an announced crowd of 5,721. In 2014 the title game between Delaware and William & Mary had an announced attendance of 5,414.

When the tournament was held in Richmond, it routinely attracted sellout crowds of 11,000 at the Coliseum — but that was when VCU, ODU and George Mason were regularly winning conference championships.

Now the CAA will see how the tournament fares in the south — UNC-Wilmington and College of Charleston are the closest schools.

“Charleston has long been considered one of top tourist destinations in the United States,” CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager said in a statement. “Our fans will enjoy a variety of activities and the outstanding hospitality of the Lowcountry along with some terrific college basketball.”

The North Charleston Coliseum seats 11,000 for basketball and has recently invested over $21 million dollars in enhancements. The multi-purpose complex is located within two miles of the Charleston International Airport and 10 miles from the historic district of Charleston.

On a side note, the CAA Tournament was held at the Hampton Coliseum from 1987-1989.

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