Star-Bulletin Sports

Friday, September 24, 1999

C O L L E G E _ B A S K E T B A L L

Rainbow Classic
loses national exposure

Fox Sports Net has decided not
to televise Hawaii's holiday
basketball tournament

By Pat Bigold


Fox Sports Net has declined to do a national telecast of the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic in December, Fox representative Renee Hawkins said yesterday.

That leaves the 35-year-old basketball tournament, scheduled for Dec. 27-30 at the Stan Sheriff Center, without any national TV exposure.

ESPN decided earlier to end its four-year association and Hawaii athletic director Hugh Yoshida said he was pursuing a deal with Fox.

The lack of national TV could pose a problem in getting the title sponsor, Outrigger, to make its usual $100,000 commitment.

Bryan Klum, director of marketing for the local hotel chain, said during the summer that national exposure has been a condition of his company's sponsorship.

He said that if national coverage wasn't secured for the classic, he might have to "re-evaluate" Outrigger's involvement.

Yoshida, who was traveling to join the Rainbows' football team in Texas, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Klum hinted on Wednesday the sponsorship might continue even without ESPN or Fox Sports if an attractive regional telecast deal could be put together.

He said exposure in the western states is of primary importance because such a high percentage of the Outrigger's mainland guests come from that region.

But media people contacted said that even setting up a regional telecast might be difficult at this stage.

Only one participant in the classic is nationally ranked and host Hawaii was 6-20 last season.

Steve Webster, a spokesman for Fox Sports West, said his regional network would "take a look at" the Rainbow Classic's field to determine whether the participants would appeal to his market of 6-7 million viewers.

But he said Fox Sports West would prefer teams from the Pac-10 or southern California. The only Pac-10 in the classic is Oregon. The others are Colorado, Villanova, Ohio, Gonzaga, and Wake Forest.

The presence of Gonzaga, which is ranked No. 22 in Fox's preseason poll, and Colorado could interest Fox Sports Northwest. But that regional network could not be reached for comment yesterday.

John Fink, president and general manager of KHNL, said he is trying to work out a regional broadcast deal for the university involving independent TV outlets in the western states.

Finks said it's also possible a deal to televise the Rainbow Classic to mainland markets could be made when Raycom Media takes over KHNL next month.

Raycom operates in 20 states as well as Puerto Rico.

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