A win for Jacksonville: ASUN Conference lands in the River City

May 08, 2024

At City Hall, in downtown Jacksonville, the Atlantic Sun (ASUN) Conference Commissioner Jeff Bacon announced that the league's office is relocating from Atlanta, Ga., to Jacksonville, Fla., in the fall of 2024.

"I am more than thrilled to be announcing our relocation to Jacksonville, a market that is growing exponentially in a location that will allow us to access and engage with our student-athletes, coaches and administrators at an unprecedented level," said Commissioner Bacon. 

"As the only NCAA Division I conference headquartered in Florida, we have a unique opportunity to capitalize on the value that our membership brings to one of the fastest-growing states in the country. Thank you to the City of Jacksonville and to VisitJAX for their support, and thank you to our Atlantic Sun Conference Presidents for their vision and support of this move. We look forward to the continued growth of the Atlantic Sun and our phenomenal institutions."

Established in 1978 as the Trans America Athletic Conference, the ASUN currently has a membership of 12 institutions that provide a diverse range of collegiate experiences. Operating in the country's fastest-growing region, ASUN Conference broadcasts to over 16 million homes. The league's footprint extends into nine of the nation's top 80 media markets, including six within the top 50. In the classroom, 36 ASUN programs have recorded perfect graduation success rates in the last two years while on the field of competition, they have produced 13 national postseason wins. The First Coast is host to two members of the ASUN Conference, the University of North Florida and Jacksonville University. 

President Cost"Having the Atlantic Sun Conference headquarters relocate to Jacksonville marks a significant milestone for the entire community," said Tim Cost, President of Jacksonville University. "This relocation strengthens our relationship with the conference, providing greater opportunities for collaboration and engagement. As a member institution of the ASUN, we are proud to have the conference's headquarters in our city, solidifying our commitment to enhancing the student-athlete experience."

As part of the announcement to welcome the Atlantic Sun Conference to Jacksonville, Michael Corrigan, the President and CEO of Visit Jacksonville, announced the launch of the Jacksonville Sports Foundation. 

“The vision for the Jacksonville Sports Foundation is to not only leverage sports tourism to enhance the economic prosperity of Jacksonville, but to expand the appeal of the area,” said Corrigan. “By doing that we not only attract competitive sports events, but also sports-related entities like the Atlantic Sun Conference, to further the $178 million estimated economic impact that sports had in Jacksonville in 2023 alone.”

“I am proud the city will be a partner with the Jacksonville Sports Foundation,” said Jacksonville Mayor, Donna Deegan. “By working together, we can leverage collective resources, expertise, and enthusiasm to further maximize the positive impact of sports tourism in Jacksonville.”

The new Foundation will work to attract sporting events of all types and sizes to Jacksonville, including collegiate athletic tournaments, surfing competitions, outdoor endurance races and large-scale international games. The Foundation will also work to increase sports-related efforts in Jacksonville, like the ASUN conference move.

"The announcement of the Jacksonville Sports Foundation is pivotal for the continued growth of our city,” said Alex Ricker-Gilbert, Senior Vice President and Athletic Director at Jacksonville University. “This initiative promises unmatched athletic experiences and opportunities for the entire community. We're thrilled to be part of this transformative journey."

Jacksonville University is part of the bid process to bring the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament back to the city for a fifth time. JU has previously been selected as the host institution in the 2006, 2010, 2015 and 2019 seasons. 

"The establishment of the Jacksonville Sports Foundation underscores our city's dedication to becoming a premier destination for people, businesses, academics, sports and entertainment," said President Cost. "This initiative aligns with Jacksonville University's mission of promoting economic growth, community engagement, innovation, and a healthy, active lifestyle. Together, with our city partners and VisitJax, we are excited to elevate Jacksonville's status as a vibrant hub for sports and entertainment, benefiting our university, the Arlington community, and the entire region."


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