GNOSF Continues Successful 2016


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Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio State and UCLA to square off at the Smoothie King Center


NEW ORLEANS (Dec. 13, 2016) – The Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation (GNOSF) and SMG announced today New Orleans has been selected to host the CBS Sports Classic, to take place Saturday, December 23, 2017, in the Smoothie King Center. The Classic is a neutral-site, four-team college basketball tournament among perennial powers Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio State and UCLA.

“There is no doubt that the fans of these four teams, all traditionally nationally ranked in the top 25, will experience an incredible holiday weekend of basketball in one of the world’s best cities.  And, if history holds true, one of these matchups in the Smoothie King Center could prove to be a 2018 Final Four preview. That could certainly be the case this year with the way that Kentucky and North Carolina are ranked right now,” said Jay Cicero, president and CEO of the GNOSF.

Together, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio State and UCLA have won 25 NCAA Championships and made 175 NCAA Tournament appearances. They are among college basketball’s all-time winningest programs, combining for more than 7,700 victories. They are also known for strong, loyal fan bases, many of whom travel for this event each year. The Classic is expected to serve as a strong leisure travel draw to the City of New Orleans during the holidays, bringing new visitors from across the country to the Crescent City.

“Landing the event was a collaborative effort between the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation and SMG, with great support from the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation and the CVB,” said Alan Freeman, SMG general manager for both the Smoothie King Center and Mercedes-Benz Superdome.  “CBS is also to be commended for creating a unique property with talented teams and fan bases with proven enthusiasm to travel. New Orleans certainly promises to raise the bar for the CBS Sports Classic, especially as we look ahead to the Men’s Final Four in 2022, reinforcing our reputation as the destination of choice for major sporting events.”

Mark Starsiak, CBS Sports Classic director of operations, noted the importance of a strong host committee when selecting New Orleans as the 2017 site.

“The experience, enthusiasm and support of the Greater New Orleans was a tipping point in our decision to pull the trigger rather quickly on committing to New Orleans for 2017,” commented Starsiak. “Our staff, partners, and participating teams appreciate the type of attention that the Sports Foundation and SMG, along with their host committee partners, are already delivering beyond the scope of the basketball games.  They made us feel as valued and confident in their ability to support our event as they do for Super Bowls, Final Fours or NBA All-Star Games.”

Media Contacts:

Caitlin Piper, GNOSF, 504.919.9566

Sabrina Trahan, SMG, 504.587.3924

Dan Sabreen, CBS Sports, 212-975-5936

Dan Mihalik, KemperLesnik,, 312-888-2109

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