Despite statements that International League scheduling rules prohibited teams hosting an event like this, the Charlotte Knights announced the 2020 ACC Baseball Championship will be held at BB&T Ballpark from May 19 to May 24, 2020.
The ACC Championship has been held in Durham’s Durham Bulls Athletic Park in five of the last seven seasons, but Bulls general manager Mike Birling closed the door on future hosting of the tourney, and it seemed as though IL cities like Louisville and Charlotte would be prohibited from making a deal with the ACC as well. As International League president Randy Mobley explained, allowing teams to block out a weeks’ worth of road games for the tournament created significant scheduling challenges. Those challenges added to some of the issues that the International League already faces on an annual basis, with teams having to schedule road games as to avoid conflicts with major events such as the Kentucky Derby and Indy 500. And while there were plenty of other MiLB teams willing to host the tourney–Greenville, Jacksonville, and Winston-Salem chief among them–Charlotte ended up landing the tournament.
“The more protected dates that you plug in there, the fewer potential ‘perfect schedules’ you can create because you’re placing greater limitations on the schedule-making process,” Mobley told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “So the premise to reduce the number of protected dates to better a schedule for everyone was the route that was being taken. … The league will no longer allow a club to protect that length of a period of time because of the negative impact it has on the overall schedule and the other league members.”
“In conjunction with the Charlotte Sports Foundation and Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, we are very pleased to announce that Mecklenburg County, the City of Charlotte, and BB&T Ballpark have won the bid to host the 2020 ACC Baseball Championship,” stated Charlotte Knights Chief Operating Officer Dan Rajkowski. “This is a tremendous opportunity to showcase our great city for a full week’s worth of exciting baseball games. These games will bring in fans from throughout the region and around the country. We would like to thank the ACC for their commitment to bringing the Championship to Charlotte.”
“The City of Charlotte and BB&T Ballpark will be excellent hosts to our baseball championship,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “We appreciate our ongoing partnership with Charlotte and the commitment they continue to show in hosting our league events and championships. I look forward to being in Uptown Charlotte to cap off the 2019-20 year.”
The 2018 edition drew 43,483 fans to Durham Bulls Athletic Park over six days and, per figures from the Durham Sports Commission, brought $9.6 million into the regional economy.
Today’s announcement marks the first time that the ACC Baseball Championship will be held at a Charlotte Knights’ ballpark since 2000 and 2001 when the games were held at Knights Stadium in Fort Mill, SC. The ACC Championship has been held in Durham, NC in five of the last seven seasons – including the 2019 event won by the University of North Carolina Tar Heels last Sunday.