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ESPN Announces Inaugural Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii


Eight-Team Men’s College Basketball Tournament Tips off in 2009

ESPN Regional Television, Inc., (ERT) a subsidiary of ESPN, announced today the creation of the Diamond Head Classic, an eight-team men’s college basketball tournament that will be played in 2009 – Dec. 22, 23 and 25 – in Honolulu.

The tournament will feature 12 games through three days. Each team will compete in one game per day, advancing through a bracket-tournament format. The two teams that remain undefeated throughout will face off in a championship match Dec. 25.

“The HTA is pleased to partner with ESPN Regional Television on the inaugural Diamond Head Classic, which will provide an invaluable, unique marketing opportunity for Hawai’i, not only in terms of TV exposure, but also in terms of reaching markets important to Hawai’i,” said David Uchiyama, vice president of tourism marketing for the Hawai’i Tourism Authority. “This is more than a premier collegiate sporting event for our community to experience, this is an opportunity to showcase the warmth, beauty and aloha spirit of Hawai’i to a national audience. In addition, the event will attract participating teams, their families and fans to visit Oahu during a traditionally slow travel period for Hawai’i.”

“This is a great day for our basketball program, our university and the entire state,” said University of Hawai’i Athletics Director Jim Donovan. “I believe the significance of this event is enormous — tantamount to our university joining the Western Athletic Conference, and more recently the formation of the Hawai’i Bowl. We’re grateful to ESPN Regional Television for their efforts in bringing a first-class event to the islands and it’s our intent to a host a tournament that everyone can be proud of.”

The Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl, held annually since 2002 in Honolulu, is a college football postseason game owned and operated by ERT.

“The Diamond Head Classic allows the University of Hawaii to once again be a focal point in preseason college basketball and we couldn’t be more excited,” said University of Hawai’i men’s basketball coach Bob Nash. “We have a golden opportunity to showcase our program and student-athletes in front of a national audience and play some of the elite teams in the nation. The fans here and those across the country should be in for a real treat.”

The Western Athletic Conference will be the sponsoring conference of the Diamond Head Classic. More information can be found at the official Web site:

“Honolulu is one of the greatest destinations in the world and we’re thrilled to bring a college basketball event to the fans there,” said Pete Derzis, Senior Vice President and General Manager, ERT. “It’s also an opportunity for the student-athletes, coaches and staffs, and their families, to enjoy themselves in a wonderful off-the-court setting.”

ERT owns and operates four other exempt multi-team basketball tournaments:

* The Charleston Classic (Nov. 14-16; S.C.), featuring Clemson; College of Charleston; East Tennessee State; Hofstra; Southern Illinois-Edwardsville; Temple; TCU; and Western Michigan
* The O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off (Nov. 20, 21 and 23; San Juan), featuring Missouri; Memphis; Xavier; Virginia Tech; USC; Seton Hall; Fairfield; and Chattanooga
* The 76 Classic (Nov. 27, 28 and 30; Anaheim, Calif.), featuring Arizona State; Baylor; Cal State Fullerton; Charlotte; Providence; St. Mary’s; UTEP; and Wake Forest
* The Old Spice Classic (Nov. 27, 28 and 30; Walt Disney World Resort), featuring Georgetown; Gonzaga; Maryland; Michigan State; Oklahoma State; Siena; Tennessee; and Wichita State

ERT expects to release the tournament bracket and ticket information for the Diamond Head Classic in the spring or summer.


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