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New York News

State Basketball Tournament To Leave Civic Center After 36 Years

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Lucas Willard
/
WAMC

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association boys basketball tournament will be leaving Glens Falls for Binghamton in 2017 after more than three decades at the Civic Center. The city is losing one of its busiest weekends of the year.

On Friday, the NYSPHSAA Executive Committee voted 14-8 to move the annual tournament to Broome County for 2017, 2018 and 2019.

The decision shocked many, including Doug Kenyon, who has directed the state tournament in Glens Falls for more than two decades.

“I’m just hopeful that this will just be for a three-year period and Glens Falls will certainly be in the hunt when the bid comes out in three years for the next bid period,” said Kenyon.

NYSHAA Executive Director Robert Zayas says when comparing the bids side by side, the facilities in Glens Falls and Binghamton are comparable.

“However, I think the Binghamton facility has already done a number of the upgrades that Glens Falls is working on doing to their facility.”

Among improvements to the Civic Center introduced this year, which is under new management, are new indoor lighting and a soon-to-be installed marquee out front.

Zayas said the financial advantages of moving the tournament to Binghamton were also taken into consideration.

"Last year we paid close to $38,000 to host our championships in Glens Falls. Whereas when we go to Binghamton, the city of Binghamton is going to pay the state association $30,000 to bring the state championships there. I think when you look at that and say, ‘OK, now our state association can do even more things for kids."

Zayas said he hopes to one day organize a youth leadership summit.

Officials in Glens Falls have criticized the new bid process introduced this year. The Glens Falls bid for the tournament weighed in at $15,000 a year for each of the three years plus more than $20,000 a year in Warren County bed tax revenues, which are pointed to promote the Civic Center.

Glens Falls Economic Development Director and Executive Director of EDC Warren County Ed Bartholomew was among the local officials criticizing the new bid process that for the first time gives voting power to the Association’s leadership.

“Putting that aside, we have been just extremely pleased to have been host to this basketball tournament for 36 years, and we wish the winner, Broome County, success in going forward,” said Bartholomew.

The Civic Center will host the tournament for the 36th time in March. The Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce estimates that the three-day tournament generates between $1.5 million to $2 million annually. During tournament weekends, traffic into the city is bumper-to-bumper as teams, families and fans come from across the state — filling hotels, restaurants and shops between games.

Meanwhile, the Civic Center has secured the smaller state Federation tournament for 2017 to 2019 after a six-year absence.

“The attendance at those tournaments, the Federation, won’t be as great but they certainly will be very competitive. And also this opens the door for our region to be looking at, perhaps, another type of basketball tournament at this time of the year as well,” said Bartholomew.

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