The University of Connecticut has announced that for the first time in years it will not play basketball or hockey in Hartford.
All games scheduled to be played at Hartford’s XL Center will now be played at the university’s Storrs campus.
“Our teams love competing in downtown Hartford but the conditions brought about by COVID-19 have made that impractical,” athletic director David Benedict told the local NBC affiliate.
Both men’s and women’s basketball will play at Gampel Pavillion. Hockey will play at Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum.
The news comes after UConn cancelled its football season, leaving a void at East Hartford’s Rentschler Field as well.
With the decision, the XL Center will continue to be closed with no new events scheduled for the foreseeable future.
“Even though Phase 3 allows 50 percent, there are still indoor caps on total attendance which is far below the levels necessary to make an event economical,” said Mike Freimuth, executive director of the Capital Region Development Authority.
The down time at XL Center may lead to renovations but some are skeptical.
Gil Fried leads the University of New Haven’s sports management program. He said the XL Center needs to be renovated but suggests it’s a risk doing so without contractual assurances the investment will attract new tenants or events.
“If we can’t get anybody to put money where their mouth is to move to Hartford and to pay to play in Hartford, then it’s not worth it for us to invest in,” said Fried.