Montego Bay will come alive this weekend as the nation’s second city and primary tourism hub hosts the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic NCAA Basketball Tournament tomorrow and Sunday at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
Founded in 2017, the Jamaica Classic is the largest basketball tournament ever staged in Jamaica. Eight college teams from the United States will compete fiercely to take home top honours, which last year were claimed by Florida State University, who later advanced to the Elite Eight of March Madness.
The tournament field will be highlighted by the presence of Georgetown University, coached by Jamaican-born Hall of Fame basketballer and former New York Knicks centre Patrick Ewing, who enters his second year as the head coach for the Hoyas.
Other participating schools include the University of South Florida, Loyola Marymount University, Ohio University, Central Connecticut State University, Austin Peay State University, Campbell University, and Florida A&M University.
With the support of tournament sponsors, special arrangements have been made to give students in Montego Bay, and throughout Jamaica, the opportunity to attend the games at no cost, many of whom would not otherwise be able to do so.
“I am extremely excited about this year’s Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic. We are confident that this year’s tournament will be even better than last,” Jacob Ridenhour, executive director of the Jamaica Classic, noted.
“Thanks to our wonderful sponsors, including Jersey Mike’s Subs, the Jamaica Tourist Board, the Sports Development Foundation and the Tourism Enhancement Fund, we are able to provide the opportunity for hundreds of students throughout Jamaica to attend the games free of charge and see role models using sports to advance their education and improve their lives,” he added.
Tournament organisers are expecting a jam-packed event with a mix of local and international basketball fans.
“Ticket sales have been outstanding thus far and we are looking forward to a full house,” Ridenhour said. “I look forward to reconnecting with all our Jamaican friends at the Montego Bay Convention Centre for a weekend of basketball and fun.”
Tickets are going fast but there are still several opportunities to make a purchase before they are sold-out. Fans can secure tickets online at TouchstoneTicketing.comor in person at Fontana Pharmacy (Kingston, Montego Bay & Mandeville), Mail Pac, Bill Express (select locations), Margaritaville, Montego Bay or in person on match day at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
General admission seat prices start at $2,000. Tickets with access to the Margaritaville VIP Lounge (including an open bar) are $6,000 and courtside seats, also with access to the Margaritaville VIP Lounge, are $12,000.
In addition, all games will be televised on CBS Sports Network tomorrow and Sunday to an audience of over 60 million homes across the United States, as well as streaming on the CBS Sports website. Select games will also be carried on TVJand TVJ Sports Network throughout Jamaica. Finally, FLOW Sports will carry the action live to basketball fans throughout the Caribbean.