Barclays Center announced that it would host the inaugural Barclays Center Classic men’s college basketball tournament, featuring the University of Kentucky and the University of Maryland, on Nov. 9, 2012. This will be the first college basketball game to be played at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and the game will be telecast on one of the ESPN networks.
The announcement was made at a press conference held at the Barclays Center Showroom in Manhattan. The event was attended by Kentucky head coach John Calipari, Maryland Athletic Director Kevin Anderson, Barclays Center developer Bruce Ratner, Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark, Director of Programming and Acquisitions for Men’s College Basketball at ESPN Nick Dawson, ESPN broadcaster Dan Shulman and former Maryland star and Brooklyn native Albert King.
“We are thrilled to launch the Barclays Center Classic and deliver to Brooklyn an exciting matchup between two storied college basketball programs, Kentucky and Maryland,” said Yormark. “We are excited for ESPN to broadcast the game and introduce the world-class Barclays Center to college basketball fans throughout the country. Basketball has a rich history in Brooklyn and we plan to make Barclays Center a significant national collegiate sports venue.”
“I wanted Kentucky to play in the first college basketball game at Barclays Center because I know what a big-time venue it will be,” said Calipari, whose team is currently ranked No. 2 in the nation. “I’m excited for our players to experience Brooklyn, one of the most historic places for basketball, and to play in what will be an incredible atmosphere at Barclays Center.”
“Maryland is pleased to be a part of the Barclays Center Classic and the first college basketball game at the new arena,” said Anderson. “I have no doubt that it will be an outstanding matchup against the University of Kentucky and a great opportunity for our northeast fans to come see us play right in their backyard.”
“The ESPN networks are pleased to televise the Barclays Center inaugural college basketball event,” said Dawson. “Brooklyn has long been in the spotlight of basketball history, as have the Kentucky and Maryland programs. The Barclays Center Classic is certain to add longevity to those traditions for college basketball fans here in New York and around the country.”
The Barclays Center Classic, which will also include a game between Long Island University of Brooklyn and Morehead State of Kentucky in the tournament field, will be a staple of the prestigious college basketball programming already confirmed for Barclays Center. In September, the Atlantic 10 Conference announced it was bringing its basketball tournament to the arena starting in 2013. Moreover, the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, one of the premier early season college basketball showcase events, is relocating on a multi-year basis to Barclays Center beginning in November 2012.
Currently under construction, Barclays Center will be a state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue when it opens in September 2012. Barclays Center will offer approximately 18,000 seats for basketball and will have one of the most intimate seating configurations ever designed for a modern multipurpose arena.