BELFAST POISED FOR CLASSIC TOURNAMENT

Belfast will host four American universities this weekend in the first NCAA collegiate basketball tournament to take place in Europe.

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and Northern Ireland-based Sport Changes Life Foundation will co-host the inaugural Belfast Classic at the SSE Arena with Manhattan College, Holy Cross, La Salle University and Towson University will go head-to-head during a two-day tournament which is expected to attract thousands of basketball enthusiasts from across the UK and Ireland.

Marc Mulholland, Executive Director of the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic, said, “We are proud to have brought the inaugural Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic to Northern Ireland and are confident that the fans of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels who attend this fast-paced tournament will come away inspired by the outstanding student athletes who are travelling all the way to Ireland to compete in two days of games. We look forward to welcoming guests from across the United States of America as Northern Ireland is put on a world stage as the host to the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic.”

Not only will guests be treated to an incredibly high calibre of game play throughout the two-day event, but supporters of all ages and experience levels will be catered for all weekend long in the Fan Fair hosted in the adjacent Odyssey Pavilion. With activities on offer including face painting, hands-on games and competitions, guest appearances, and opportunities to support fans’ favourite teams as well as meeting local and global basketball superstars and learning more about the sport and opportunities to play locally and abroad, the Fan Fair will get fans excited for the fast-paced games as well as inspiring lifelong fans and players.

Remarking on the inclusive atmosphere of this upcoming tournament Gareth Maguire, CEO, Sport Changes Life said, “The Mission of Sport Changes Life is to create opportunities for young people to build relationships as we aim to inspire and raise their aspirations through sport. We have developed the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic to not only inspire young basketball players in attendance, but also to show young people of all backgrounds and interests what is possible when they pursue their dreams and think big for their futures.

“As we get ready to welcome college basketball players and their supporters across the pond to Belfast. Basketball has always been a popular sport in Northern Ireland, and we feel strongly that this tournament will help to shine a spotlight on the growing sport locally as well as exposing local players and enthusiasts to a world-class level of game play which we hope will inspire athletes as well as increasing the fan base of the sport. There is no better crowd of sports fans than those living on the Island of Ireland, and we look forward to showing off Belfast on a world stage as spectators come to Northern Ireland to take part and tune in to the two-day tournament around the world.”

For more information on Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic and to purchase tickets visit www.belfastbasketballclassic.com

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