The Washington Times - February 24, 2009, 05:30PM

Time for a little sports business math:

Economy in the toilet + Dome basketball + Event away from epicenter of conference = Extra tickets

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That’s life for the ACC, which today announced it would sell conference tournament ticket books starting Monday for $363.

That comes out to $60.50 per tournament session, and it’s for someone else who is less miserly to determine whether that’s a good deal or not.

But the price isn’t the point. Rather, it’s the first time since 1966 there was even a public sale for the event.

Look, the ACC is doing OK for itself. Playing at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome for the first time since 2001 has afforded the conference the chance to sell more seats. Even after zapping some seats with lousy sightlines, the ACC was going to rake in plenty of cash.

But since Atlanta isn’t, say, Greensboro or Charlotte, and people everywhere have a tendency to value food and shelter over watching basketball, other factors besides a large venue are working against the league.

Conference expansion has made the tournament a much more exhausting affair than it once was, with two quadrupleheaders rather than a play-in game followed by four quarterfinals the next day. One long day is cool. Two – including one featuring plenty of mediocrity – gets a little tiresome.

But if anyone has some spare change lying around and some furlough vacation days to kill off, there’s plenty of worse ideas that rolling into Atlanta for a Thursday night through Sunday afternoon trip in a couple weeks.

Patrick Stevens