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Pac-12 announces landmark basketball events in China

Mar 15, 2014

First-Ever Regular Season Game in China in November 2015 – University of Washington vs. University of Texas
Pac-12 Men’s Basketball All-Star Tour in August 2014

Las Vegas, Nev. – The Pac-12 will stage a regular season men’s basketball game in China in 2015, be-coming the first major U.S. sports league, collegiate or professional, to host a regular season contest in the country, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott announced today. 

The game will be held on Nov. 14, 2015 (Nov. 13 in the U.S.) and will feature the Pac-12’s University of Washington playing a non-conference game against the University of Texas. Current Pac-12 broadcast partner ESPN will televise the game live in the United States. 

This event will be a major landmark in the Pac-12’s Globalization Initiative, an unprecedented effort to promote goodwill and showcase the Conference and its member institutions in China through student-athlete exchanges and sport. Since launching the initiative in 2011, the Pac-12 has sent men’s (UCLA and ASU) and women’s basketball teams (Cal), a women’s all-star volleyball team, and a delegation of men’s basketball coaches to China for competitive exhibitions and clinics. 

As part of the initiative, the Conference has signed a long-term Memo of Understanding with the Federation University Sports China (FUSC), the country’s national organization for university sports that operates under the Ministry of Education. The Pac-12 hosted a delegation from the FUSC this week in Las Vegas at the second annual U.S.-China Symposium on Collegiate Sports Development. The delegation, which included 20 athletic directors from leading Chinese universities, participated in a daylong symposium with Pac-12 leadership and representatives from our universities, including UCLA Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero, California Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach Jay John, and Paul Swangard, the Managing Director of Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon.

“The Pac-12 and our universities are proud to be pioneers in China,” said Commissioner Scott. “This event is a great step forward for our initiative designed to use sport and cultural exchange to support the international strategies that many of our universities have embarked on to extend their reach into China and promote good will between our two countries.”

This vision is for this event to become an annual component of the Pac-12 men’s basketball season with a Pac-12 team playing a prominent non-conference opponent. In addition to the event, the Pac-12 and the local Chinese host will develop ancillary events like youth activities, academic forums, and symposia to promote the initiative and the participating universities.

“We are excited to represent the Pac-12 as its launches this innovative addition to the basketball season,” said University of Washington Director of Athletics Scott Woodward. “The event offers a unique bonding experience for the student-athletes early in the season and an excellent forum to showcase the university and connect with Washington alumni in China."

Expanding the reach of the Longhorn brand is a priority for first-year University of Texas athletic director Steve Patterson. In his previous role at Arizona State, he brought the ASU men’s basketball team to China in 2013 as part of the Pac-12 Globalization Initiative.

“We are excited to be opening the 2015-2016 season against the Washington Huskies in China,” said Patterson. “This will be a great educational experience for our student-athletes and another opportunity to strengthen the university’s brand in the world’s most populous country.”

The game is tentatively scheduled to tip at 11:00 a.m. local time, which puts it at 7 p.m. on the U.S. West Coast, 9 p.m. in Texas, and 10 p.m. ET. ESPN will televise it to a national audience.

“We are thrilled to be able to partner with the Pac-12 on this landmark event,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN senior vice president, programming & acquisitions. “It is a wonderfully creative venture and we look forward to working with the Pac-12 and their member institutions on such future endeavors."

Pac-12 Men’s Basketball All-Star Tour
Commissioner Scott also announced today that the Conference will send a Pac-12 All-Star Men’s Basketball Team to China in August 2014 for the first time. The team will travel to at least two cities in China and play two to three exhibition games against top Chinese professional teams and one game against a leading Chinese university team. 

Oregon State University Head Coach Craig Robinson will be the head coach and name a roster of 12-13 Pac-12 student-athletes this spring. As part of the tour, the student-athletes will have the opportunity to experience Chinese culture, visit historic landmarks and engage with their Chinese counterparts and FUSC in official ceremonies and off-the-court activities.

“Beyond expanding our universities’ presence in China, these tours are transformative educational experiences for our student-athletes,” said Commissioner Scott. “Our students and coaches return to their campuses with great memories of cultural exchange and an expanded worldview.”