A10 championships semis

Massachusetts vs St. Bonaventure’s during first half of semifinal round of the Atlantic 10 men’s basketball championship at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City Saturday, March 10, 2012.

ATLANTIC CITY — The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority is into the sports market in a major way this year, with three major events to be based in Boardwalk Hall.

The Professional Bull Riders tour, Division I men’s college basketball and a Bear Grylls survival challenge will come between September and December, the CRDA announced Friday.

The events are a result of an alliance started last year between the CRDA and IMG, a global sports, events and talent-management company.

“We were really looking for some different types of events and also destination events, events that you don’t have an opportunity to see anywhere else in the region necessarily, that are going to bring people in from a larger radius,” Chris Howard, the CRDA’s executive director, said in a phone interview Friday.

Friday’s announcement comes on top of it becoming public last week that the unique auto-racing series known as Red Bull Global Rallycross will make its only stop in the eastern part of the country with Rounds 8 and 9 of the 12-round schedule coming Aug. 25 and 26 at Bader Field.

Boardwalk Hall General Manager Jim Wynkoop confirmed last month the city is one of four finalists to host the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, or MAAC, men’s and women’s basketball tournaments starting in 2020.

Big-time college basketball was last at the hall between 2007 and 2012, when the Atlantic 10 Tournament used the venue as one of its sites.

In 2010 and 2011, the hall hosted the two-day Legends Classic tournament, featuring four Division I men’s teams.

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Holiday Hoop-La College Basketball Quadruple-Header will probably feature some local teams, but also teams a person is not going to have a chance to see anywhere in the area, Howard said.

The Professional Bull Riders Tour was last held in the hall in 2003.

The PBR has increased in popularity since it was last at the hall, Howard said.

“This time around, there aren’t really any other opportunities in the region to see PBR. Last time, the routing was a little bit different. This time, there is a much bigger draw potentially because of the routing not coming through the area,” Howard said. “Everybody in the region that wants to see PBR, now they have one place to see it, and it’s in Boardwalk Hall.

The three new events and their dates are:

The 25th PBR: Unleash the Beast, Sept. 14-16 at Boardwalk Hall, 2301 Boardwalk.

Professional Bull Riders event includes two nights of showcase bull-riding competition and live music. It will be broadcast nationally through PBR’s partnership with CBS Sports.

Bear Grylls Survival Challenge, Oct. 12-14 throughout Atlantic City, with headquarters at Boardwalk Hall.

The Bear Grylls Survival Challenge is an outdoor competitive survival experience inspired by the encounters and skills of Grylls.

This event — the second in a worldwide Challenge Series — will take place throughout Atlantic City’s landmarkw, including the Boardwalk, the beach/surf and historic buildings. The event includes two days of competition and a survival trade expo.

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Holiday Hoop-La College Basketball Quadruple-Header on Dec. 15 at Boardwalk Hall.

College basketball returns to Boardwalk Hall’s arena with eight top Division I men’s teams competing on the hardwood. This will be part of the Hoop Hall’s national series of college events, which last year included stops at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut and the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

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Twenty years as a staff writer in the features department, specializing in entertainment and the arts at The Press of Atlantic City.

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