ESTERO, Fla. – The inaugural Gulf Coast Showcase, a destination-location NCAA Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournament, tips off in 10 days at the Germain Arena in Southwest Florida.
Eight men’s teams, led by top-seeded Louisiana Tech, and eight women’s teams, including NCAA Tournament teams UCLA and Middle Tennessee State, will battle Thanksgiving week at the home of the Florida Everblades, a highly successful ECHL minor league hockey program.
The men’s tournament will be played Nov. 25-27, with the championship game scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 27 at 8:30 p.m. The women’s tournament will be played Nov. 29-Dec. 1, culminating with the championship game scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 1 at 8:30 p.m. There are two doubleheader sessions each day of each tournament, beginning at noon and 6 p.m.
As the date quickly approaches, final preparations are underway at Germain, most focused on getting the playing floor repaired and refinished with a new look and design.
“We’ve spent many hours working to repair and refinish the court,” said Randy Klinck, Director of Events and Operations at Germain Arena. “We not only want the floor to look good, we want it to be the best quality playing surface for these top athletes.”
What traditionally has been a slow holiday period for the arena has quickly become one of its busiest weeks of the season. The ‘Blades will play host to Orlando on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 22-23, and then Grammy-winning rap artist Ludacris will take the stage at Germain Sunday night, Nov. 24. The schedule will necessitate the arena changing over from ice to a concert set up, which includes floor seating and staging, and then to the basketball court, all within 32 hours.
“Having back to back events like this is a big task,” said Klinck. “With the basketball tournament starting at noon, our window to get everything ready is much smaller than usual. We have great people that will put in many hours to get the arena converted and cleaned between each event.”
Fans can follow the floor progress at www.facebook.com/GermainArena.
Tickets can be purchased at all Ticketmaster locations as well as the Capital Bank box office at Germain Arena. Tickets can be purchased by session or for the entire tournament. Per session ticket prices begin at $20 and all-session tickets start at $60. For ticket and hotel packages for both tournaments, visit www.gulfcoastshowcase.com. For group sales or sponsorship opportunities, interested parties should contact bd Global at 859-951-6141.