The ACC Baseball Tournament will not return to Durham Bulls Athletic Park in 2020, as scheduling conflicts will prevent the Durham Bulls (Class AAA; International League) from accommodating the event.
Durham Bulls Athletic Park has been home to the annual ACC Baseball Tournament consecutively since 2015, with the exception of 2017–when the event moved to Louisville because of North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2. The 2019 edition of the tournament will take place in Durham later this month, but it will not return next year.
Although local officials and the Bulls hoped to host the tournament beyond 2019, an International League scheduling policy will prevent the team from blocking out a sufficient number of dates to accommodate the event. A new host location has not been announced. More from The State:
However, a change in International League scheduling policy prevents the Durham Bulls from blocking out the dates needed for the tournament to be held at the DBAP, their home stadium.
Since the Bulls can’t guarantee they won’t be at home, the ACC can’t consider the stadium as a place to hold the 12-team tournament.
“In the past, we’ve been able to block off the dates,” Bulls general manager Mike Birling said. “The league, over past year, decided to go in a path of no longer allowing certain protected dates. At this point we just weren’t able to hold the dates. We’re obviously disappointed, but we understand. We are one of 14 teams in this league and we have to abide by what the league wants.”
In order to house the event, the Bulls have to be on the road for seven consecutive days.
Several contenders should be in the mix as a future host for the tournament, which drew 43,483 fans over six days last year and has been cited by Durham officials as having a strong impact on the local economy. Durham Bulls Athletic Park has hosted nine prior ACC tournaments, with its first turn at the event coming back in 1996.
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