Bubble Up Hartford

Due to COVID, the fans did not get the madness of March in 2020. If the NCAA wants to survive, there MUST be Madness in 2021. Many colleges are trying to get their seasons started. Some may wait until conference games during January and others may try to get non-conference games in December. For the ones that will play in 2020, they will most likely be playing in a COVID-free bubbled environment. There are many sprouting up across the country as we speak.

Disney World and Las Vegas are leading the way and are already booking the nation's top NCAA programs for bubble tournaments. More cities are in the running for the landing spot of 1,000+ D1, D2, D3, NAIA, Men's and Women's basketball programs. One of those leading cities is in Connecticut. As of now, the basketball is not scheduled for Hartford, Storrs, or New Haven, but Uncasville.

The Mohegan Sun operates on a different set of rules being a tribal reservation. They have been operating a fighting bubble successfully since April of the pandemic. Bellator MMA and Showtime Boxing interchange weekly using the full spectrum of Mohegan's bubble accommodations to air their product on TV. Mohegan Sun is already in the process of securing basketball for the future.

Downtown Hartford is in desperate need of the same model as Mohegan. Hartford should be putting their plan together now for hosting NCAA programs as a basketball bubble. Actually, they are far behind the rest of the competition. Las Vegas has collaboration with several hotels and UNLV to stage several bubbles throughout their city. Even small markets like Asheville, NC and Sioux Falls, SD have booked basketball blue bloods as tourney sites and are open for business to host more.

Economically, Hartford needs these bubbles as much as these basketball programs need to get games on the schedule. On top of CT's great COVID numbers, the XL Center has hotels attached, a tier-style blue print that will allow for addition employees, and has recently hosted an NCAA tournament. The effect on local businesses would be life-saving. The restaurants, the hotels, and the XL Center itself could generate some kind of income this year with a steady group of customers to serve in December.

As fans, we need basketball to happen. THERE IS NO FOOTBALL AT ALL IN OUR STATE!!!! NONE. Even if we can't be in the building, being a bubble city would give more opportunities for NCAA hoops to happen and represent Hartford well.

The best we can do is be loud about it. Let our Mayor Luke Bronin know. Let Governor Lamont know.


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