NICEVILLE, FLA. — Global Sports Management has agreed to a three-year extension with Northwest Florida State College to continue hosting the Emerald Coast Classic college basketball tournament. This extension will keep the tournament in the Panhandle of Florida through the 2019-20 season.
Led by Iowa State, which is ranked No. 4in the latest Associated Press poll, this weekend’s tournament features teams (Illinois, Iowa State, Virginia Tech) from three of the premier college basketball leagues in the NCAA — the ACC, the Big 10 and the Big 12.
Tournament officials already have announced the Friday evening session is sold out with just a few tickets remaining for Saturday’s evening session.
“Basketball fans have responded tremendously with their support and enthusiasm so it’s only fitting to renew our relationship with the great people at Northwest Florida State,” said Hanks. “We will continue to invite some of the elite college basketball programs in the country to the Emerald Coast.”
Ramsey Ross, athletic director at Northwest Florida, applauded the decision and said the school is looking forward to continuing to host the event.
“This is a win,win situation for everyone,” Ross said.
“We’re able to showcase our great venue with the national television exposure. The economic impact of the tournament to our area is enormous with the number of fans the teams will bring down to our area.
The eight team tournament, held Thanksgiving weekend at the Arena on the campus of Northwest Florida State, continues to grow in stature among the college basketball early season tournaments.
Iowa State and UAB played in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, while Illinois competed in the 2015 NIT.
The semifinal round games on Nov. 27 feature Virginia Tech vs. Iowa State at 6 p.m.followed by UAB against Illinois at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time. Both games will be televised live on CBS Sports Network, the 24-hour cable home of CBS Sports.
The championship game Nov. 28 will tip off at 6 p.m. at The Arena. Alabama State, Chattanooga, Chicago State and Jacksonville State round out the eight-team field competing in the Emerald Coast Classic, presented by Global Sports.
Hanks said the eight team field for the 2016 tournament field will be announced later this week.