MGM Grand Showcase To Benefit Coaches vs. Cancer
July 25, 2013
MGM GRAND SHOWCASE
Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013
Four Top 25 college basketball programs will be on display at MGM Grand (www.mgmgrand.com) in Las Vegas Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013 in an inaugural nationally televised doubleheader.
The MGM Grand Showcase will feature Marquette vs. New Mexico and Oklahoma State vs. Colorado at the MGM Grand Garden Arena with the games benefitting Coaches vs. Cancer, an initiative spearheaded by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (www.nabc.com) and the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org).
bd Global, LLC, a Lexington, Ky.-based sports marketing firm, has signed an exclusive three-year contract with MGM Grand to provide college basketball content. The Showcase is the first of several new regular season college basketball events at MGM Grand over the next few seasons. In 2012, the resort played host to the Holiday Hoops Classic and this past March partnered with the Pac-12 Conference to become its new home for the annual Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The MGM Grand Showcase tips with reigning Mountain West champion New Mexico taking on Marquette at 6:00 p.m. PT in the opener, televised live on ESPNU. All-American Marcus Smart then leads Oklahoma State against Colorado at 8:30 p.m. PT, which will be broadcast to more than 100 million homes on ESPN2. The two games will be played at the 16,800-seat MGM Grand Garden Arena, home of the biggest names in sports and entertainment including many of boxing’s premier championship bouts over the past two decades.
“Many thanks to MGM Grand for its commitment to helping us launch this annual event benefitting a cause that college basketball passionately supports,” said Brooks Downing, president of bd Global (www.bdglobalsports.com), the event promoter. “With four of the nation’s top teams for next season, it will definitely have a March Madness atmosphere that day at MGM Grand.”
New Mexico returns to Las Vegas after winning the Mountain West Conference Tournament at UNLV last March. The Lobos, coming off a 29-6 season, return four starters for new head coach Craig Neal. Senior guard Kendall Williams led the team in scoring last season at 13.3 points per game and junior center Alex Kirk averaged 12.1 per contest to go along with 8.1 rebounds.
Coach Buzz Williams has Marquette primed for another strong year following last season’s run to the Elite Eight. The Golden Eagles captured a share of the Big East regular season title in 2012-13 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament East Regional Final before falling to Syracuse. MU will be led by 6-8, 290 lb. Davante Gardner, a senior forward that averaged 11.5 points and 4.8 rebounds last year.
Oklahoma State and head coach Travis Ford received an unexpected boost when Smart, a National Player of the Year candidate, opted to return for his sophomore season despite being an expected top-five selection in the NBA Draft. He will lead a Cowboys team that went 24-9 last season and returns three other starters, including standout Le’Bryan Nash.
Colorado head coach Tad Boyle has quickly positioned his Buffs among the elite of the Pac-12 with back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances since moving to the league in 2011. CU returns four starters from a team that won 21 games a year ago, including Spencer Dinwiddie (15.3 points, 3.0 assists) and Askia Booker (12.4 points, 3.5 rebounds).
A portion of every ticket sold for the MGM Grand Showcase will directly benefit Coaches vs. Cancer. The program provides critical mission outreach while raising funds in support of the American Cancer Society’s lifesaving efforts to help people stay well and get well, fund groundbreaking research into cancer’s causes and cures, and fight back through legislative action at the local, state, and national levels. Since 1993, high school and college coaches across the country have raised more than $87 million to support the American Cancer Society’s fight against cancer.
Reggie Minton, NABC deputy executive director, said, “Our NABC coaches have championed the Coaches vs. Cancer program for 20 years now. We are very appreciative for the support we receive for this initiative in the hope of finding a cure for cancer.”
Tickets ranging from $30 - $250 (courtside seating), not including applicable service charges and taxes, go on sale Thursday, July 25 at 10 a.m. and will be sold at all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations (select Smith’s Food and Drug Centers and Ritmo Latino). Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also are available for purchase at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
Complete event information can be found at wwwmgmgrandshowcase.com. For group sales or sponsorship opportunities, interested parties should contact bd Global at 859-951-6141.
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