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SBJ/Nov. 8-14, 2010/SBJ In-Depth
The tournament makers
Published November 8, 2010
ESPN Regional Television, Charlotte
This branch of ESPN that used to be exclusively production and syndication has moved into the events business in the last five years and now runs six tournaments, mostly around Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Basketball Tournaments Inc., Cincinnati
This group runs the iBN Sports Las Vegas Invitational in November and the iBN Sports Las Vegas Classic in December. Both are managed by Chris Spencer’s group and he has contracted IMG College to sell sponsorships.
The Gazelle Group, Princeton, N.J.
Founded in 1994, the Gazelle Group runs four tournaments, three in the pre-conference season and one postseason. The 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer is in its 16th season and starts with 16 teams on campus sites. The final four advance to Madison Square Garden later this month. O’Reilly Auto Parts sponsors the College Basketball Experience Classic, which culminates in Kansas City, while the Legends Classic similarly pares 16 teams to a final four in Atlantic City. Gazelle also runs the postseason College Basketball Invitational championship.
Basketball Travelers Inc., Edmonds, Wash.
The producer of the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands stages basketball events for men’s and women’s teams each November. BTI also helps schools arrange foreign tours against international competition.
Lagardère Unlimited, Lexington, Ky.
Brooks Downing leads the college division that was formerly part of Blue Entertainment Sports Television, which was recently acquired by Lagardère. Downing’s group is running a basketball doubleheader in Dallas next month that features Texas A&M-Arkansas and Baylor-Gonzaga.
The NCAA runs the Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT Tip-Off, which begins on campus sites and culminates at Madison Square Garden, as well as the postseason tournament, which was founded in 1938 and remains the oldest tournament in basketball.
— Compiled by Michael Smith