Wednesday , November 29, 2017 - 7:22 PM
Nearly 17 months since it was announced, the debut of the Beehive Classic college basketball showcase is nearly here.
The classic will feature BYU, Utah, Utah State and Weber State in a one-day basketball doubleheader Dec. 9 at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Each team will face one another in the event over the course of the next three years.
Brass from organizer Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment (LHMSE) hope the debut lives up to the goal of putting on a celebration of basketball for the state of Utah.
“It’s real exciting because all four teams are pretty good this year,” said Mark Powell, vice president of events for Vivint Arena. “There will be some really good games and all four teams look good.”
Utah and Utah State play at 5:30 that night, with Weber State taking on BYU for an 8 p.m. nightcap. One ticket gains a fan entry to both games.
Powell said he’s recently asked each school to return their unsold tickets from allotments distributed to each school, but so far, no schools have returned anything.
“I think they’re doing really well since we haven’t had any returned to us yet,” he said. “We’re expecting a really good crowd.”
Weber State athletic director Jerry Bovee said his school has sold a few hundred tickets in the upper and lower bowls.
“For our fan base, there are a lot still focused on football so that may have lagged us a little bit in sales,” Bovee said. “But as it gets closer, we’ll get more fans getting ready for it.”
For now, WSU will still hold on to some of its allotment to sell itself. Wildcat fans can purchase through the school at WeberStateTickets.com or at the Dee Events Center ticket office.
“At some point soon, we will have to send all the tickets back and (fans will) have to buy from the arena, so for convenience’s sake, this would be a good time to buy from us,” Bovee said.
“We’re still excited for this event and what it will mean for our program to play in that arena to showcase basketball in the state. Those who go will have a great time.”
LHMSE kept about 2,000 seats — a center section on each side of the lower bowl and some corner upper-bowl sections — for general public sale. Powell said each fan base can expect to have a distinct section in the arena.
Contracts for the event show 85 percent of revenue from the event is earmarked to be shared equally by the schools, while LHMSE will keep 15 percent.
Vivint Arena’s full concession and restaurant services will be available, and fans can expect plenty of opportunities to interact with sponsors in the concourse, Powell said.
In the future, Powell said he “absolutely” plans to include high school games or competitions (for example, a dunk contest) during the day of the event. But with TV rights to sell and a tight schedule created by this summer’s arena renovation, he said LHMSE wanted to get its feet wet before expanding.
Fans unable to make the games should enjoy quality TV broadcasts. The Utah-USU game is slated for Pac-12 Network, while BYU-Weber State will air on BYUtv.
Powell said the arena’s broadcast crew has experience running multiple broadcasts simultaneously, so he doesn’t foresee problems facilitating broadcasts for two networks back to back.
“We’re excited to kick it off and see how it looks,” he said. “We want this to be an annual event for years and years.”
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