By Zachary Baru
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will be holding their enshrinement at the Mohegan Sun Arena, marking the first year the museum will hold the ceremony at the resort casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.
The Enshrinement Weekend, taking place May 14-15, 2021, will continue a partnership the Hall of Fame has had for many years with Mohegan Sun. This year, however, the Hall of Fame will hold their enshrinement in the 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena, an arena that has has 9,323 fixed seats and expandable to 10,000 for concerts. The arena has won numerous awards, most recently winning Casino of the Year award for venues at the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2019. This is the seventh time in 12 years the Mohegan Sun Arena has won the award at the ACMs.
Aside from being an intimate yet rather large arena, and a modern venue, holding this year's enshrinement at the resort casino also allows the other events of the weekend to all be held on the same property. Whether this is COVID-related has not been mentioned, but it does add to the case of making the Mohegan Sun property a good choice to host the weekend event.
The weekend events begin on Friday, May 14 with media availability at 2:00 p.m. Later that afternoon at 5:00 a Tip-Off Celebration and Awards Gala will be held. The following day on Saturday, May 15 there will be a VIP Reception at 2:00 p.m., followed by the 2021 Enshrinement Ceremony at 5:00 p.m. at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
With two luxury hotels, 50 restaurants, bars and eating options, and two separate convention and exposition centers all connected on the same property, Mohegan Sun allows the Hall of Fame to host the entire weekend event inside the resort casino. The ability to have all of the weekend events within walking distance and inside the same resort is an interesting concept, one that makes for a good case to hold the event outside of Springfield, the location of the Hall of Fame. While this plan will undoubtedly see some criticism from the Springfield-area, during a global pandemic, there is a level of safety that this provides.
This year's enshrinement will be yet another example of a long-time partnership between the Basketball Hall of Fame and Mohegan Sun. The resort casino and its arena have hosted numerous tournaments and one-day showcases for both men's and women's college basketball. The Mohegan Sun Arena hosts the annual Tip-Off Tournament, and Mohegan Sun is a key sponsor of the museum in Springfield. Having the enshrinement at the resort casino will continue to strengthen this partnership, while offering a location that can conveniently host all weekend events all in one property.