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Durham Working to Keep ACC Baseball Tournament

Durham Bulls Athletic Park 2016

With an agreement to host the event expiring after next year, Durham officials and the Durham Bulls (Class AAA; International League) are working to retain the ACC baseball tournament

Durham Bulls Athletic Park began an agreement to host the tournament in 2015, and that pact its approaching its expiration. While the ballpark is under contract to host the 2019 edition of the event, the ACC is expected to begin seeking bids for future tournaments this summer. Any new agreement would begin in 2020, and could run for up to four years.

The conference will have plenty of factors to consider in deciding the next site for the tournament, though the goal is reportedly to select a host for 2020 and beyond before the 2019 event begins. Other cities–including fellow International League markets Charlotte and Louisville–are expected to be in the mix, but Durham and Bulls officials indicate that they will work to keep the tournament. More from the News & Observer:

Durham Sports Commission executive director Ashleigh Bachert is among those working toward keeping the ACC at the DBAP beyond 2019.

“We don’t want to lose this event,” Bachert said. “It’s a great fit. We hear it from fans left and right. Florida State fans. Georgia Tech. it’s not just our Triangle schools. It really is just everyone, every single fan that comes in. Louisville fans have been telling us ‘This is such a good setup. You have everything here.’”…

Even though the ACC’s presence affects the Bulls home schedule, [Bulls general manager Mike] Birling wants the league tournament to stay because of its impact on the Triangle as a whole.

“We think it helps everything,” Birling said. “Here with the Durham Bulls, it’s all about, we just want to grow the sport. We don’t necessarily have to grow the Bulls. We just love the game of baseball. We just want to grow it and we know what baseball does for a community. Anything we can do to keep the tournament here we are going to try to do.”

The initial pact for Durham to host the tournament was to expire after the 2018 event. However, the ACC added 2019 to the agreement after it moved the 2017 tournament to Louisville Slugger Field–home of the Louisville Bats (Class AAA; International League)–over concerns surrounding North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2 legislation.

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