CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Mountain East Conference will return to Charleston in 2018 to host its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

The 12-member conference announced Monday it will hold games in West Virginia’s capital city as part of a one-year deal. The tournament’s future in Charleston was unknown after its previous deal expired following the 2017 tournament in March.

Charleston Deputy Mayor Rod Blackstone thanked the Charleston Hospitality Committee attracting the conference for another season.

“We got local sponsors to step up so we could provide free meals to the players that were playing the games,” he said. “There was a restaurant partner program where people who were attending the tournament could get a discount on their meals at restaurants.

“The (Charleston) Convention and Visitors Bureau also added a lot of promotional material through social media to generate interest in it. There was more signage around the city welcoming people.”

The deal is only for a year because of the Mountain East Conference’s 2019 tournament dates conflict with the girls’ state high school basketball tournament, which has already been scheduled for that year. City officials had hoped for a three-year bid.

“What we’d like to do is build on that and make the most of that in 2018, so when the Mountain East can come back beyond that, everybody will want to,” Blackstone said.

The tournament will be held from Feb. 28 to March 4, 2018.

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