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State Farm Champions Classic Moves Up One Week to Tip Off 2018-19 College Basketball Season

Champions Classic Indy Teaser

January 17, 2018

State Farm Champions Classic Moves Up One Week to Tip Off 2018-19 College Basketball Season

State Farm Champions Classic will open the 2018-19 season, to be played on Tuesday, Nov. 6, on ESPN, coinciding with the new start of the college basketball season as announced by the NCAA today. The 2018 Classic – a neutral site doubleheader – will once again feature Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State, with Michigan State facing Kansas, and Duke facing Kentucky. This year’s games will be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, with the 2019 Classic returning to Madison Square Garden in New York City.

“We feel that there is natural connection to the start of the season and to the State Farm Champions Classic,” said Clint Overby, vice president of ESPN Events. “These four schools have come together to help build an exciting stage to launch the college basketball season.”

Quotes

John Calipari, Kentucky
“The Champions Classic has been the gold standard for college basketball’s regular-season events for the last seven years, but I love what we’re doing to use it to tip off the basketball season. What better thing for our sport than to begin the year with four of the most successful programs in college basketball. Now, it might not be the best thing for my team, but the good news is we’ll all be learning about our teams at the same time while taking this thing to the next level. I know our fans will turn Indianapolis blue next fall.”

Tom Izzo, Michigan State
“The Champions Classic has always served as the unofficial start to the college basketball season, so it only makes sense to move to the earlier date. Our four great programs, the capacity crowds and the media attention provide a spotlight on our game that’s much needed during an otherwise crowded time in the sports calendar. I can’t think of a better way to tip off the season.”

Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
“It’s incredibly exciting that they’re going to start he basketball season on such a high note and on a different date. I think it’s such a great idea, and to have the Champions Classic on that date is an honor. It’s an honor for the four programs that will be participating. I’m anxious to do something for the first time, and I think it’s a positive step in the right direction for our sport.”

Bill Self, Kansas
“The Champions Classic generates a lot of interest and with the season moving up, this will be a great way to officially kick off the season. It won’t be easier for any of the four (teams) preparing for such tough competition before you’ve had a chance to watch your opponent play.”

History

  • Millions of fans have tuned into the Champions Classic over the last seven years. The 2017 matchups delivered the event’s second highest viewership ever, behind the 2013 Classic.
  • A combined 18 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship (since 1939): Kentucky (eight), Duke (five), Kansas (three) and Michigan State (two).
  • A total of 56 NCAA Final Four appearances (since 1939): Kentucky (17), Duke (16), Kansas (14) and Michigan State (9).
  • Since the Champions Classic began in 2011, all four teams have reached the NCAA Final Four at least once, with Kentucky and Duke winning national titles, in 2012 and 2015 respectively
  • Over the last 14 games of the Classic, there have been 13 top-25 matchups, including two games featuring No. 1 vs. No. 2 (according to the AP poll)
  • Four Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame coaches in Calipari, Izzo, Krzyzewski and Self
  • To date, the event has taken place in four cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Indianapolis and New York

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Media contact: Anna Negron at anna.m.negr[email protected] or 860-256-1757; @Anna_ESPN


ESPN Events ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of 31 collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games; FCS opening-weekend game; 14 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 300-plus hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 700,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and St. Petersburg, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans. ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program. Collegiate Football Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl (Houston); AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (Florida); Bahamas Bowl (Nassau); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Camping World Kickoff (Orlando, Fla.); Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); DXL Frisco Bowl (Frisco, Texas); Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff (Montgomery, Ala.); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); MEAC/SWAC Challenge (Baton Rouge, La.); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); The Home Depot College Football Awards (Atlanta) and Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth) Collegiate Basketball AdvoCare Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Armed Forces Classic (Ramstein Air Base, Germany); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); Gildan Charleston Classic (South Carolina); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s  Classic presented by Corona (New York City); Jimmy V Women’s Classic presented by Corona (Hartford, Conn.); NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.); PK80 presented by State Farm (Portland, Ore.); Puerto Rico Tip-Off (San Juan); State Farm Champions Classic (Chicago) and Wooden Legacy (Fullerton, Calif.) For more information, visit the official website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube pages. -30- ESPN Media Contact: Anna Negron at 860-766-2233 or [email protected]; @Anna_ESPN