I received this release today, in the wake of all the discussion of the end of the Washington-Gonzaga series.
Northwest Sports and Entertainment has proposed a four-year, four-team neutral site men's basketball event that would feature the University of Washington, Gonzaga University, Washington State University and Eastern Washington University – the four Division 1 College Basketball Programs in the state of Washington.
The proposed deal would begin in 2008 with double-header games taking place at KeyArena and move to Spokane Arena in 2009. The games would then go back to KeyArena for 2010 and finish in Spokane Arena in 2011. Each year the University of Washington would play Gonzaga University and Washington State University would play Eastern Washington University.
The total financial package would be $1.3 million split among the four schools for the four year deal.
"College basketball in the state of Washington has shown over the last few years that it is as good as any part of the country," said John Hines, executive director for Northwest Sports and Entertainment. "This is a great opportunity to showcase these four programs in an exciting one-day event and the fans of all these schools deserve to see these games."
Northwest Sports & Entertainment is bringing two men's college basketball games to KeyArena this December. This year will be the 4th Comcast Battle in Seattle produced by Northwest Sports & Entertainment, pairing Gonzaga University against the University of Nevada on Saturday, December 30th at KeyArena. Northwest Sports & Entertainment is also producing the Cougar Hardwood Classic for the second consecutive year, featuring Washington State University and the San Diego State Aztecs on Thursday, December 21st at KeyArena. Combined the four teams have amassed a 29-4 record this season.
I think it sounds like a great idea. But I'm not sure why the schools would. Especially, I don't see how it changes Washington's concerns about playing a tough Gonzaga team every season and away from home every other season. And I'm also not sure if WSU would accept being locked in as a sort of opening act while two in-state rivals get to be the headliners.
Still, it's an interesting idea, and something to keep an eye on.