SBD/November 11, 2011/Events and Attractions

Quicken Loans Carrier Classic May Be "Most Ambitious" Non-Traditional Sport Event Yet

Cost over $2M in sponsorship money and private funds to outfit carrier's deck
The North Carolina-Michigan State Quicken Loans Carrier Classic may be the “most ambitious sporting event at a non-traditional venue yet,” according to Jeff Eisenberg of YAHOO SPORTS. It cost “more than $2 million in sponsorship money and private funds to outfit the deck of the USS Carl Vinson with a makeshift basketball arena replete with a regulation-sized court, a giant video screen behind each baseline and stands big enough to hold 7,000 people” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/10). Morale Entertainment Foundation Dir Mike Whalen, whose organization is hosting the event, said that his group is “hoping to break even after sponsorships” (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 11/11). In L.A., Diane Pucin notes Morale Entertainment and ESPN are “splitting the costs of staging the game.” Each school “received about 400 tickets, Quicken Loans, the title sponsor and State Farm, the secondary sponsor, received some and the rest went to men and women in the military.” Each team will “wear specially designed uniforms resembling camouflage gear for the game” (L.A. TIMES, 11/11). In Raleigh, Luke DeCock notes Morale Entertainment is “talking about men's and women's games on carriers next year, including one scheduled for Nov. 9, 2012 between Connecticut and potentially Arizona.” Whalen said that Michigan State has “agreed to participate again in 2013, as has the Connecticut women's team.” Whalen: "We would like it to be an annual deal.” He added, “We're looking to change the narrative, I guess, about what Veterans Day means" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 11/11).

SALUTE TO THE TROOPS: The AP’s Julie Watson noted organizers “plan to seize the spotlight to showcase the Navy and its awe-inspiring, multi-billion-dollar aircraft carriers to the more than 3 million viewers expected to watch the Veterans Day game on ESPN.” Navy officials said that they “know a basketball game will not change the budget debate, but it can't hurt efforts to get the American public excited about their branch of service as its chiefs lobby Congress to avoid cuts that could jeopardize its future military strategies” (AP, 11/10). AD AGE’s Kerem Ozkan noted for college basketball and the U.S. Navy, the event “will serve as a one-of-a-kind cross-promotion.” State Farm is “sponsoring a halftime game of H-O-R-S-E with James Worthy, Mario Lopez, Brooklyn Decker, and the winner" of an eBay auction. Morale Entertainment said that “all proceeds will go to charity.” Other sponsors for the game “include Sears, Coke Zero, Miller High Life, Westwood One” and upcoming Relativity Media film "Act of Valor" (ADAGE.com, 11/9).
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