Charleston rolling out red carpet for Mountain East Conference Basketball Tourney

Twenty teams, 18 games, five days. The Mountain East Conference Basketball Tournament is kicking off Wednesday afternoon at the Charleston Civic Center.

"What we want is engagement; we want people in the seats,” Mountain East Conference Commissioner Reid Amos said.

The MEC tournament includes local Kanawha Valley schools West Virginia State University and the University of Charleston, and powerhouse basketball schools from the northern part of the state, Fairmont State and West Liberty. Click here to see the full list of schools and tournament schedule that continues with all of the fast break action through Sunday.

This is the fourth year the MEC is having its tournament in Charleston, but the conference is considering looking elsewhere for tournament venues.

"We need to be able to roll out the red carpet, and we're doing that i think probably better than we've done before,” Charleston Deputy Mayor Rod Blackstone said.

This year the tournament is having youth night on Wednesday and Thursday. Youth teams and groups, or kids with parents get in for free. Restaurants are offering discounts for players, fans and officials. One of those restaurants is Adelphia on Capitol Street.

"It's just a win win, and it really does help the community and the economic impact of the city,” Adelphia Sports Bar and Grill owner Deno Stanley said.

Blackstone said the MEC tournament brings in about $2 million to the city. Blackstone is on the Charleston hospitality committee for the tournament. Blackstone said he is thankful so many people have stepped up to make this tournament more attractive to fans and players.

"It's an important event for the city. It's great college basketball,” Blackstone said.

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