November 6, 2012
A BIG MOVE
Big East men's championship switched from Red Bull Arena to PPL Park
The Big East men's soccer championships have become the latest sporting event to take a hit because of the wrath of Hurricane Sandy.
The two-day final four event which was scheduled to take place at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. on Friday and Sunday, has been moved to PPL Park in Chester, Pa.
Red Bull Arena has hosted the last two Big East Championships as part of a three-year agreement.
The four teams involved in the tournament apparently began hearing rumblings of the planned move as early as Monday.
The residual effects of the storm were given for the move, was made due to the impact of Hurricane Sandy on New Jersey in general and in the Harrison, N.J. area in particular.
"Due to Hurricane Sandy and the issues still existing in its aftermath, we regretfully cannot host the 2012 Big East men's Soccer Championship for the third straight year at Red Bull Arena," Red Bulls general manager Jérôme de Bontin said in a statement.
"We already have limited resources at our current disposal in hosting the MLS Cup Playoffs and want to ensure that if we did have the tournament, we could promise the Big East 's players, staff and fans a safe and professional experience. We want to thank the Big East for their work and understanding in this unfortunate time and look forward to continuing our strong relationship with the conference and college soccer in general in the future."
Red Bull Arena suffered only minor non-structural damage in the storm, and the MLS Eastern Conference semifinals series game two between the Red Bulls and D.C. United will be played on Wednesday evening at the stadium. The MLS home-and-home series was switched because of the aftermath of the storm, with D.C. hosting the first leg at RFK Stadium last Saturday.
The semifinals are Friday at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. ET, with both matches televised on CBS Sports Network. All four teams to reach the semifinals are from the Blue Division. Georgetown, the No. 2 seed, will face Marquette, the No. 4 seed in the first game, before the No. 3 seed, Notre Dame, matches up against top-seeded Connecticut. The two semifinal winners will play on Sunday at noon, with an automatic berth to the NCAA Championship on the line. The title game will be broadcast live via BIGEAST.tv, as well as numerous regional sports networks.
"We are happy to be able to step in and help the Big East with this very important event,” Philadelphia Union CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz said in a statement. “PPL Park and Philadelphia Union continue to be the home for top athletic and entertainment events, such as the Big East Championship."
“It is great of PPL Park to step up in adverse times,” Big East Associate Commissioner for Olympic Sports Jim Siedliski said in a statement. “Our heartfelt wishes go out to the areas affected by the storm last week. PPL Park is a state-of-the-art facility that will give our student-athletes a great postseason experience.”
Tickets that were previously purchased through Red Bull Arena will be honored at PPL Park. Tickets will also be available for purchase via the PPL Park website.