MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - A big event to kick off the 2012-2013 NCAA college basketball season will likely take place on the deck of the USS Yorktown next fall.
The Patriot's Point Development Authority board has approved a temporary agreement to partner with the organizers of the "Carrier Classic," a basketball game held on the deck of an aircraft carrier.
The group heading up the game, Morale Entertainment Foundation Inc., took the 2011 classic aboard the USS Carl Vinson in San Diego on Veteran's Day, pitting the UNC Tar Heels against the Michigan State Spartans. UNC prevailed in the game 67-55.
Morale Entertainment Spokesman Thomas Lee says he expects the deal to be signed in the next few weeks. The games on November 9 will feature the Ohio State and Notre Dame women's teams in the afternoon, then the UConn men against an undetermined opponent in the evening, said Lee.
Lee also said the weather and location drew them to the USS Yorktown once they learned they could not hold the 2012 event on the USS Carl Vinson.
Lee says they are still looking for a major title sponsor and are in the process of selecting broadcast partners.
This is a one-year deal, but Lee said he hopes Charleston will be included in future Carrier Classic events.
"This is a major opportunity, not just for patriots point. This is an opportunity for the entire state of South Carolina," Patriot's Point executive director Mac Burdette said.
He says the development authority approved the idea because the nationally televised ball game would bring attention to South Carolina, boost the local economy with players and fans in town, attract visitors to Patriot's Point, and Patriot's Point would make money.
The 900 foot long and 200 foot wide Yorktown flight deck would be transformed to a basketball court with stands that could seat up to 4,000 spectators.
"The devil is in the details. We have to work out all the details. That's what contract negotiations are about, to make sure it's a win for us and a win for the organizers of the event," Burdette said.