But this spring, the city is taking no chances, making presentations to commissioner Reid Amos and officials from MEC schools. Everybody from the mayor's office to the Convention and Visitors Bureau to Civic Center general manager John Robertson has joined the effort.
There is an eyeball or two peeking north at Wheeling, home of the MEC office and the city that wrested the high school football Super Six from Charleston two decades ago and hasn't let go.
There is sentiment in Wheeling that the city should make a run at the new tournament, touting the smaller Wesbanco Arena as a better environment for a small-college tournament. But blotting out a week of potential dates for the Wheeling Nailers hockey team could prove problematic. The Nailers used 37 home dates in the just-concluded season, 30 held between Thursday and Sunday.
And that came with the Nailers making a 19-day road trip in February. Charleston doesn't have that worry, and it has 50-plus years of experience putting on the event.
"The fact that they're a brand-new conference, this is one thing they wouldn't have to start from scratch," said Tim Brady, vice president of sales and services for the Charleston CVB. "The staff at the Civic Center and the community groups involved have done this for years. In my opinion, coming to Charleston would be one less thing they have to start from scratch."
Robertson has hosted three tournaments for years, too, the WVC and the two state high school tournaments. He is uncertain what format the Mountain East will use - for instance, will all 12 teams, men and women, come to the same site? - but he's ready for everything.
Well, almost everything. He understands the challenge that Amos and the MEC schools have in launching the new conference, but he can't block out the week ending March 1, 2014 forever.
"We're going to have to get an answer pretty soon," Robertson said. "We've got people interested in booking dates. We're holding open the dates. We've got several clients that would like to move into those dates.
"I'd like to have [an answer] within weeks, not months."
Amos, pulling double duty and then some as MEC commissioner and vice president of broadcasting at West Liberty, did not return a call for comment.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.