'Opening Day' just the latest ACC Tournament reboot
Posted March 13
Greensboro, N.C. — In some ways, the Atlantic Coast Conference took on the role of a software developer throughout the football and basketball seasons.
John Swofford upgraded the league’s operating system with the addition of Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame. The conference beta tested their new features during football season, easing consumers into their contemporary look. During the basketball regular season, the ACC unveiled their killer application called “Duke vs. Syracuse.”
All of it ramped up to the conference’s public release – the "new and improved” ACC Tournament.
As with any consumer product refreshed by its developers, there will always be backlash. But there’s no going back. “Opening Day” in Greensboro is Swofford’s iOS 7. This is the conference’s redesigned look for the future.
Make no mistake, Wednesday’s setup inside the Coliseum Complex was jarring.
The black curtain used to cover the upper level gave the proceedings a downgraded feel. You’d excuse fans for thinking they traveled back in time to see the inaugural season of the Carolina Hurricanes or randomly showed up for a WWE house show.
And a surprising number of fans did show up for the type of basketball expected from teams with double-digit seeds next to their names. Perhaps those fans figured, “sure, why not?”
The first round of games at all conference tournaments tend to be sparse, but the ACC was smart to push all attendees to the lower bowl. It gave the games a slight jolt of energy.
Further credit goes to the ACC for recognizing “Opening Day” had to be a separate one-off event from the rest of the tournament. Tickets were sold separately from the traditional books that come from the schools. There was a 45-minute Scotty McCreery concert stuck in the middle of the afternoon. They even bombarded fans with free T-shirts.
And if the ACC continues to channel Apple, this won’t be the last revision to the tournament. “Opening Day” was just the beginning of the conference’s long term plans to stay fresh and grow the brand. This includes eventually taking the tournament to New York City.
Fans will complain, but will eventually relent. They always do. Despite all the changes and extra periphery, basketball is why we’re all here.