Florida and Georgetown on Friday will play in the Navy Marine Corps Classic men’s basketball game on the USS Bataan, and City of Jacksonville Sports & Entertainment Exec Dir Alan Verlander said that organizing the game “has been a complicated process, given the logistics of playing the game within the confines of a Navy base, on the deck of a ship,” according to Garry Smits of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. The manner of selling “sponsorships” to keep within the military’s policy of “not allowing the public to be charged to attend an on-base event" has been a "complicated and controversial procedure.” Florida and Georgetown will "play in front of about 3,500 -- 1,000 of the ship’s crew, 300 boosters and fans from each school and 1,900 fans who purchased the sponsorships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.” Verlander said only a “limited number” of sponsorships remain available. He added that including a Jaguars game in the package “was a key component of the deal.” Verlander said, “We partnered with the Jags to create a package that would bring more value. The seats for the Jaguars game are pretty good, in the 200 section." Sponsorships also include two tickets to a concert by country artist Little Big Town. Verlander said that combining the “three events -- football game, concert, basketball game -- into one package and labeling it a ‘sponsorship’ met the military’s parameters for holding events on a base or a ship and not charging admission.” Depending on the sponsorship level, businesses or individuals “will have signage at the concert and ads in the program.” But Verlander said that “no advertising or signage will be visible from the Bataan berth to the court.” The total cost for staging the event is “estimated to be between $1.6 million to $2 million -- lower than the early estimate of $2.5 million because Verlander said some expenses were not as high as expected and some services will be paid for by sponsors on an in-kind basis" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 11/6).
PLAYING ABROAD: In Detroit, Matt Charboneau notes for most of the Michigan State men's basketball players and coaches, this week's trip to Ramstein Air Base in Germany "for the Armed Forces Classic represents more than just playing a game” against UConn. MSU coach Tom Izzo thought last season's Carrier Classic game against North Carolina on the flight deck of USS Carl Vinson “made a huge impact on his players, and hopes being around the air base is what this year's team takes from the event.” MSU players in the Carrier Classic last season “wore camouflage uniforms, and will wear similar ones Friday.” MSU G Russell Byrd said, "It's a little different this time. We are going over there to try and get a win and get the season started off right. ... The last time was to enjoy the experience" (DETROIT NEWS, 11/6).