State Farm and ESPN announced a one-year agreement establishing State Farm as the title sponsor of the inaugural Champions Classic. The State Farm Champions Classic – an early-season men’s basketball marquee event debuting Tuesday, Nov. 15, at Madison Square Garden in New York – will pit Duke against Michigan State and Kentucky versus Kansas.
“State Farm is honored to be the inaugural sponsor of this premier college basketball event” said Todd Fischer, manager of national sponsorships for State Farm. “As a leading sponsor in college basketball it was a natural extension of our commitment to support student athletes.”
The 2011 Associate Sponsors of the State Farm Champions Classic are Gildan, DirecTV and CARFAX.
State Farm Champions Classic Teams
* Ranked in an early preseason poll by ESPN.com’s Andy Katz – Kentucky is No. 2, Duke is No. 5, Kansas is No. 18 and Michigan State is on the fringe of breaking into the top 25;
* All four teams qualified for the NCAA Championship, including a Final Four run by Kentucky;
* Kansas and Duke were top seeds in the tournament, advancing to the Elite Eight and Sweet 16, respectively. Michigan State was a second round participant.
More About the State Farm Champions Classic
The event is slated for three years – with these perennial top programs facing off from a different neutral site each year. The State Farm Champions Classic matchups will serve as prime time telecasts during ESPN’s annual College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon on Nov. 15, 2011; Nov. 13, 2012; and Nov. 12, 2013.The 2012 event will be held at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta with Michigan State vs. Kansas and Duke vs. Kentucky. The 2013 classic will be at the United Center in Chicago with Michigan State against Kentucky and Kansas against Duke.
A limited number of tickets (limit four per person) will go on sale to the public beginning Thursday, Oct. 6, at noon through ticketmaster.com or by calling 866-858-0008. Additional information can be found on the State Farm Champions Classic Web site.
ESPN Regional Television
The nation’s largest syndicator of collegiate sports programming, ESPN Regional Television (ERT) annually produces more than 1,200 sporting events. Content includes action from NCAA football, basketball and Olympic sports, NHRA and professional and amateur golf, accounting for more than 3,400 live and/or original hours of programming. ERT’s owned and operated events reach over a million fans a year and provides more than 200 additional hours of programming.
In addition to event ownership, ERT is the production headquarters for ESPNU; syndication rights-holder and producer of national, regional and local shows for college conferences (SEC, BIG EAST, Big 12, Mid-American, WAC) and manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.
ESPN Regional Television markets and/or owns several sporting events:
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg; Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); BBVA Compass Bowl (Birmingham, Ala.); MAACO Bowl Las Vegas; Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas (Houston); MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney (Orlando, Fla.) and The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards
76 Classic (Anaheim, Calif.); State Farm Champions Classic (Madison Square Garden; debuts 2011); DIRECTV Charleston Classic presented by Foster Grant (S.C.); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Old Spice Classic (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Puerto Rico Tip-Off (San Juan); All-College Basketball Classic (Oklahoma City) and BracketBusters
ESPNU Warrior Classic
Hawaiian Islands Invitational (Soccer) and ESPN National Golf Challenge
For more information, visit ESPNPlus.com.
About State Farm(r)
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and is a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 17,800 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts – more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 37 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com or in Canada http://www.statefarm.ca.