Our series gets a little more intriguing today, because Brooklyn is the first potential site we'll look at that has never hosted the tournament. Unlike some of the other potential sites, which could have been options but weren't strongly considered, Brooklyn is new to the mix because Atlantic Yards, the future home of the Nets, is still being constructed. Here's the rundown:
Arena: Atlantic Yards
Attendance in past tournaments: NA
Host schools: It's unlikely any school would have much of a home-court advantage because the commute would be easy for fans from a number of schools, but Manhattan, Iona and Saint Peter's would have the shortest commutes.
Local newspapers: New York Times (1,077,256 daily, 1,476,400 Sunday); New York Daily News (703,137, 704,157); New York Post (702,448, 401,315); Newsday (379,613, 441,728). But an important aside about the media coverage: When the tournament is in Albany, it is THE story in the Albany papers and on TV for the entire weekend. To an extent that's also true in Bridgeport and Buffalo. New York City is BY FAR the biggest media market in the country, and that's one of the reasons NYC sites are being looked at. But keep in mind that the MAAC isn't going to be on the pack pages of the tabloids for every day of the tournament.
Driving distance from league schools:
435 miles (seven hours, 16 minutes) from Niagara
416 miles (six hours, 55 minute) from Canisius
170 miles (three hours, one minute) from Siena
96 miles (one hour, 59 minutes) from Marist
57 miles (one hour, 14 minutes) from Fairfield
23 miles (36 minutes) from Iona
23 miles (37 minutes) from Manhattan
12 miles (38 minutes) from Saint Peter's
65 miles (one hour, 39 minutes) from Rider
197 miles (three hours, 45 minutes) from Loyola
Average distance: 149 miles (two hours, 46 minutes)
The Skinny: Were I a member of the league's council of presidents, I'd have Brooklyn atop my list of New York City venues, ahead of the Prudential Center, the Meadowlands, and any other possibilities that might be thrown out there. Why? Well, let's think about it. The Nets are relocating from East Rutherford to Atlantic Yards, and there's a reason for that: The Meadowlands is a perfectly fine venue for football, because when people go to football games, they spend hours prior to the game tailgating in a parking lot, not hanging out in bars, restaurants, shops, or whatever other kind of cool/fun places that are typically found in cities but not in sprawling complexes off the New Jersey Turnpike. But for basketball, people want to a city atmosphere.
You can make a similar -- though not quite as convincing -- argument against the Prudential Center, which is in a city, but not THE city, and which comes unfairly (the area is nice and contrary to anything Barry Melrose said last year on ESPN, safe) with a negative stigma because of the city its in. But we'll take a closer look at The Rock later in the week.
Atlantic Yards will be nearly brand new in 2012, will be accessible on the NYC Subway, and is an easy commute on the LIR for MAAC fans on Long Island. So were I at the table when the discussions were going on, it'd be at or near the top of my list of neutral sites.
. . .
A quick preseason MAAC note: The conference's media day -- at which the preseason coaches' polls and all-conference teams will be announced -- will take place Oct. 28 at the ESPNZone in Manhattan.