The Southern Conference announced that Asheville will remain the home of the
SoCon Basketball Championships through the 2016/2017 season. Representatives from the City of Asheville, the U.S. Cellular Center Asheville, Asheville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission presented the 3-year extension opportunity at the Southern Conference’s Spring Meeting on Thursday, May 30.
The nation’s longest-running conference tournament, the SoCon championship was held in Asheville from 1984-95 and returned in 2012. The event will continue to utilize the U.S. Cellular Center Asheville and UNC Asheville’s Kimmel Arena for the four days of competition annually. City of Asheville Council Member Jan Davis commented, “The City of Asheville looks forward to the continued relationship with the Southern Conference, this partnership provides a great opportunity for our community members, particularly our youth,
to enjoy high quality basketball performed by talented student athletes.”
The presentation featured news of additional renovations now underway at the U.S. Cellular Center. Prior to the 2014 Championships the U.S. Cellular Center will complete enhancements to the ticket office, lobby, restroom facilities, storage areas and club-level hospitality areas. A new playing surface and goals are in the process being purchased and will be in place for next year’s tournament. “It was abundantly clear that both parties wanted to continue this partnership,” said Southern Conference Commissioner John Iamarino. “We’re very gratified to announce the extension of our agreement with Asheville. This is an important milestone for us.”
The Southern Conference Basketball Championships brings 10,000+ visitors to Asheville in early March, utilizing over 4,000 hotel room nights. “The Southern Conference has been a valuable addition to Asheville’s economy, especially on a weekend that comes before our busiest months,” said Stephanie Brown, Executive Director of the Asheville CVB.