Monday, March 11, 2013

Penn National wants Tip-Off Classic to return

By Zachary Baru

Monday at CityStage both resort casino developers in Springfield presented further details of their proposals for obtaining the sole Western Massachusetts license, which is expected to be given in early 2014.  This afternoon's presentations focused on traffic, parking and entertainment, and included an interesting point made by Penn National Gaming, who is proposing a resort casino in the city's North End on the site of Peter Pan Bus Lines and The Republican.

During the topic of entertainment, Penn National stated that they would like to attract the Tip-Off Classic back to Springfield, which currently exists only in the form of a tournament at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.  The Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic was played between 1979 and 2005 at the Springfield Civic Center/MassMutual Center, which attracted top college basketball teams and nationally televised broadcasts.  

In the event that the game was brought back to Springfield, it would resurrect a tradition in Springfield that at one point was more than just a basketball game, but an entire community event.  The game formerly was kicked-off by the Tip-Off Parade, and opened the nation's college basketball season with the very first game of the year.

MGM Restorts International also had much to say about entertainment at today's presentations.  MGM spoke about their rich history of bringing some of the biggest names in entertainment to their venues, including popular concerts and sporting events.  They explained the importance of entertainment to their proposal, which is located within walking distance of the MassMutual Center.

Turnout at CityStage was decent, with good questions being asked by community leaders regarding traffic, parking and entertainment.

Zach Baru also blogs for Sports Business Boston.  He can be followed on Twitter @zbaru and reached at

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