Big South Announces Title Sponsor, Format for Basketball Tourneys

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (www.BigSouthSports.com) - Big South Conference Commissioner Kyle B. Kallander announced today that VisitMyrtleBeach.com will be the new title sponsor of the Big South men's and women's basketball tournament championships for the next three years, which will be held at Coastal Carolina University's new 3,200-seat on-campus Student Recreation and Convocation Center.

The VisitMyrtleBeach.com Big South Basketball Championships will be a combined tournament for the seventh time overall in League history and the first same site event since 2002 when the Conference staged its basketball postseason in Roanoke, Va.  Coastal Carolina is hosting the full tournament for the first time, as CCU previously held the men's semifinals and finals in 2010 and 2011. 

In addition to the title sponsorship, the Conference also announced that the combined tournament will now feature all Big South men's and women's basketball teams -- 23 in total.  The 12 men's teams and 11 women's programs will play 21 games over a six-day stretch from Tuesday-Sunday, March 5-10, 2013.  Specific television arrangements will be announced in the future.

"The Big South Conference is excited to partner with VisitMyrtleBeach.com on our most prestigious event," said Kallander.  "They bring a high level of energy and enthusiasm, which will be contagious to all of our institutions and fans.  Bringing all 23 teams to this great destination in the same week will be a tremendous celebration of Big South basketball.  We are grateful for the support from VisitMyrtleBeach.com, Coastal Carolina University, and the greater Grand Strand region."

"We are thrilled to welcome the Big South men's and women's basketball tournaments to the Grand Strand," added Brad Dean, President & CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.  "Our university, residents and local business community looks forward to hosting these outstanding student-athletes, their fans and coaches for a very memorable experience in one of America's top resort destinations.  The Myrtle Beach area is one of America's premier beach destinations and is quickly emerging as a sports tourism destination, providing a perfect backdrop for March Madness in the Big South."

"First, I would like to thank VisitMyrtleBeach.com for making this tournament a reality on Coastal Carolina's campus," stated Coastal Carolina Director of Athletics Hunter Yurachek.  "The Student Recreation and Convocation Center was not only built to enhance our basketball and volleyball programs, but to also host events like the Big South basketball championships that will showcase the region as well.  I am excited that the new format of including each of the 23 League teams into the VisitMyrtleBeach.com Big South Basketball Championships will give the student-athletes a better overall experience."

Ticket prices, packages and sale dates for the 2013 VisitMyrtleBeach.com Big South Basketball Championships will be announced once it is finalized.  VisitMyrtleBeach.com and Coastal Carolina are also planning a Fan Fest, "Battle of the Bands" competition and free alumni golf outings as part of the tournament festivities.  The tentative 2013 tournament schedule appears below and is subject to change.

2013 VisitMyrtleBeach.com Big South Basketball Championships Schedule (subject to change)
Tuesday, March 5 - Men's first round games (4)
Wednesday, March 6 - Women's first round games (3)
Thursday, March 7 - Men's quarterfinal games (4)
Friday, March 8 - Women's quarterfinal games (4)
Saturday, March 9 - Men's semifinals (2) and Women's semifinals (2)
Sunday, March 10 - Men's finals and Women's finals

The Big South Conference is returning to a same site, combined tournament format for the first time since 2002.  For six-straight years from 1997-2002, the Big South held its men's and women's basketball championships at one location -- Lynchburg, Va. (1997-98), Asheville, N.C. (1999-00) and Roanoke, Va. (2001-02).

ABOUT THE MYRTLE BEACH AREA
The Myrtle Beach area, popularly known as the Grand Strand, stretches from Little River to Pawleys Island, comprising 12 distinct cities along the South Carolina coast.  Home to world-class golf, 60 miles of sandy beaches, an assortment of entertainment and family attractions and Southern hospitality, the Myrtle Beach area presents the quintessential vacation experience.

ABOUT THE MYRTLE BEACH AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Since 1938, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce has stood as the unified voice of the Grand Strand's business community.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has awarded the MBACC its five-star accreditation, one of only several chambers in South Carolina to earn this distinction.  The MBACC serves Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach, Little River, Atlantic Beach, Garden City Beach, Loris, Conway, Aynor, Murrells Inlet, Litchfield Beach and Pawleys Island.  For more information, visit www.MyrtleBeachAreaChamber.com.