Monday, March 17, 2008
11:55 a.m.
Editor & Publisher
First, our sincere congratulations to Jeff Vasser and everyone at the Atlantic City Convention and Visitor's Authority. Before Vasser's stint as Executive Director, this type of event would never have come to Atlantic City in the first place.
So, that alone is a feather in the cap of this dynamic sales team. The ACC&VA has a demonstrated track record and commitment to bringing high quality, national caliber events to Atlantic City. The end result, this spins into significant local commerce, as well as generating casino revenue and hotel room nights.
It also continues to demonstrate that Atlantic City's footprint as a major event player in America continues to grow.   
The second year of this event being staged in Atlantic City was a huge success.
The ACC&VA did everything it could to will this event into becoming successful. They executed great service, accommodations and other important ancillary details. This has now helped to set the stage to keep this event in Atlantic City for potentially years to come.
The event this year exceeded last year's overall attendance by several thousand.
But, one of the most important things that occurred this year, was completely out of the hands of Vasser and the ACC&VA team.
Like it was sent as a gift from God, Temple and St. Joseph's made their way to the Atlantic 10 Championship game. As great as this sounded, the pressure was really on now! Because, the conventional theory was that if these two teams could make it to the final game, then the Boardwalk Hall event arena would be packed.
No excuses remained. None were needed. Theory has now become reality, as 10,100 people packed their way into Boardwalk Hall this past Saturday night. The scene could not have been grander! Just a mere whisker away from a complete sellout (10,800 capacity).
This enormously important factor was completely out of their control, and, it may have just landed Atlantic City the opportunity to nail down a multi-year deal to keep the Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball Tournament here for years to come.
In the short time that Linda Bruno remains as the A-10 Conference Commissioner, now is the time to negotiate a long-term contract, which I know Vasser and his staff are efforting mightily to accomplish this as we speak. Timing is everything and the timing couldn't be better.
I remind you that hard work and talent only goes so far! I am really confident that they will be able to strike a long-term deal ... and, just remember, that the final case was made, when Atlantic City demonstrated on Saturday March 15, 2008 that it could deliver 10,100 people on one night, for one great championship game.
It was also nice to see that both Temple University and St. Joseph's University both made it to the NCAA elite Tournament this year. With Xavier, this gives the Atlantic 10 Conference three teams in the NCAA Tourney, with several other bubble teams just missing out.
This event staying in Atlantic City is more important then many people realize. First, it's great for business and the overall reputation of Atlantic City as a true destination resort. It also demonstrates that Atlantic City can feature top flight sporting and entertainment events.
Additionally, the success the ACC&VA has had with the Atlantic 10 Tournament could easily be the precursor for Atlantic City becoming a Preliminary round site for even higher NCAA Tournament events.