Georgia-St. John’s and Kentucky-Connecticut to be Featured in Doubleheader at Madison Square Garden; Also, Jimmy V Classic Tickets Go on Sale Tuesday
Tickets for the third annual DIRECTV SEC/BIG EAST Invitational, including two games at Madison Square Garden in New York City, will go on sale Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 10 a.m. ET. And ESPN Regional Television announced today that DIRECTV will be the new title sponsor of the event.
The two-night men’s college basketball tournament takes place in two cities, with a doubleheader Wednesday, Dec. 9, in New York City followed by a doubleheader Thursday, Dec. 10, in Tampa, Fla. The schedule at Madison Square Garden will feature Georgia taking on St. John’s at 7 p.m. ET, televised live on ESPN2, followed by Kentucky facing Connecticut at 9:30 p.m., live on ESPN.
Fans who wish to attend the Dec. 9 doubleheader at Madison Square Garden can purchase tickets online at www.Ticketmaster.com or charge by phone by calling Ticketmaster at (866) 858-0008. Prices are $70, $60 and $30. College students and groups of 20 or more can purchase tickets for $15 each.
On Wednesday from the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, DePaul vs. Mississippi State will be featured at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2, followed by Syracuse vs. Florida at 9 p.m. on ESPN.
“The DIRECTV SEC/BIG EAST Invitational gives us another great opportunity to play an exciting game at The Garden,” said St. John’s head coach Norm Roberts. “It’s a great matchup against a power conference school, and we’re looking forward to an outstanding game against Georgia.”
“We’re very excited to be a part of the Invitational this year,” said Georgia head coach Mark Fox. “The Garden is the most famous basketball arena in the world, and to have a chance to play and coach there will be a great experience. St. John’s will present a tough challenge for our team. We’re looking forward to representing the SEC in this great event.”
“We are excited to be a part of this and to have the opportunity to play a program like Kentucky,” said Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun. “We always try to schedule against the best and think this is a continuation of that tradition for us. In addition, it is always exciting for our team and our fans to play in Madison Square Garden, an arena that has been the site of so many successes for us over the years.”
“It’s going to be a great challenge to play UConn,” said Kentucky head coach John Calipari. “They’re a veteran team, fresh off a Final Four and they have a Hall of Fame coach. There will be a lot of support for them in Madison Square Garden. We understand what we’re up against and look forward to the challenge.”
Also on Tuesday, tickets will go on sale for the 2009 Jimmy V Classic, a doubleheader set for tipoff Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN, live from Madison Square Garden. The Jimmy V Classic features Butler vs. Georgetown, followed by Indiana vs. Pittsburgh. For tickets, log on to www.thegarden.com or call Ticketmaster at (866) 858-0008. For more information, visit the official Web site by clicking here.
For the DIRECTV SEC/BIG EAST Invitational, teams invited to participate are chosen by ESPN in consultation with the conferences and are based on geographic and competitive criteria.
Six of the eight participating teams reached the postseason in 2008-09, with Connecticut, Mississippi State and Syracuse playing in the NCAA Tournament. The Orange made it to the Sweet Sixteen, while the Huskies advanced to the Final Four. Florida and Kentucky played in the National Invitation Tournament, while St. John’s played in the College Basketball Invitational.
The BIG EAST holds a 5-3 record in the first two years of the DRIECTV SEC/BIG EAST Invitational. The two conferences have combined to produce four of the last seven NCAA Men’s Basketball Champions (Florida – 2007 and 2006; Connecticut – 2004; Syracuse – 2003) and seven of the last 14 national champions (Connecticut – 1999; Kentucky – 1998 and 1996).
ESPN Regional Television/Event Ownership
The nation’s largest syndicator of collegiate sports programming, ESPN Regional Television (ERT) annually produces more than 1,000 telecasts of sporting events. Programming includes football, basketball, NCAA events, golf and NHRA events accounting for more than 2,200 live and/or original hours of programming. In addition to event ownership, ERT is the production headquarters for ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network; syndication rights-holder and producer of national, regional and local shows for college conferences (e.g. – SEC, BIG EAST, Big 12, Mid-American, Sun Belt, WAC).
ESPN Regional Television markets and/or owns several sporting events, including collegiate football events: the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth, Texas); MAACO Bowl Las Vegas; New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Papajohns.com Bowl (Birmingham, Ala.); Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); St. Petersburg Bowl; the MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney (Orlando, Fla.); and The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards; collegiate basketball events: the 76 Classic (Anaheim, Calif.); Charleston Classic (S.C.); DIRECTV SEC/BIG EAST Invitational; ESPNU Road to the Championship (Women; San Antonio); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Old Spice Classic (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off (San Juan); SONIC All-College Basketball Classic (Oklahoma City) and BracketBusters; as well as the ESPN National Golf Challenge presented by Callaway. For more information, visit ESPNPlus.com.