MAUI INVITATIONAL CONTRIBUTES $8 M-PLUS TO ISLAND ECONOMY
(Story & Photos by Wendy OSHER Â© 2009)
Mauiâ€™s economy got an $8.3 million boost this winter from the 2008 EA SPORTSTM Maui InvitationalÂ® basketball tournament played at the Lahaina Civic Center. The tournament welcomed nearly 5,000 out-of-state participants who spent an average of six days on Maui, according to the latest data released by the Maui Visitors Bureau. The 2008 tournament, hosted by Chaminade University on Oahu, marked the 25th year for the event.
â€œEvery year, the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational gives us a tremendous lift in our tourism business while showcasing a great competitive event with some of the top teams and players in college basketball,â€ said Terryl Vencl, executive director of the Maui Visitors Bureau. “In a struggling economy this Tournament continues to provide visitors a meaningful reason to travel and experience a breathtaking island s etting in which to enjoy their vacation,â€ she added. â€œFor our community it also generates excitement as our residents look forward to enjoying world class basketball year after year.”
Since its debut in 1984, college basketballâ€™s premier in-season tournament has generated a total of $140 million for Mauiâ€™s economy. Visitors include those traveling with the team, boosters, players, officials, media representatives, sponsors, and production crews.
The Tournament also generated funds for local charities during its visit include donations to Aloha House, Baldwin High School, Boy Scouts of Maui, Job Corps, Lahainaluna High School, Make A Wish, Maui Family YMCA, Maui Food Bank, Napili Canoe Club and Starwood Foundation of Hawaii, among others.
The 2008 Wayne Duke Championship trophy was awarded to North Carolina after defeating Notre Dame in the championship game. The title was the third for North Carolina on Maui (1999, 2004 and 2008) and the third for Roy Williams as head coach (1996 with Kansas; 2004 and 2008 with North Carolina).
Approximately five million television viewers watched the 2008 EA SPORTS Maui Invitational games on ESPN, with the network combining with ESPN2 and ESPNU to offer live television coverage of all 12 Tournament games in 2008. The tournament games were also featured on our very own ESPN 550-AM radio station broadcasting from Kahului, Maui.
The 2009 EA SPORTS Maui Invitational will feature Arizona, Cincinnati, Maryland, Wisconsin, Gonzaga, Colorado, Vanderbilt and host Chaminade University. The tournament is set for Nov. 23-25 at Mauiâ€™s Lahaina Civic Center.