Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, March 31, 1999

W E S T E R N _ A T H L E T I C

Hawaii group
bids to host
WAC tournament

Bowl Games of Hawaii hopes
its package is attractive enough
to bring the basketball tourney
here next year

By Paul Arnett


Bowl Games of Hawaii put the finishing touches on its bid to host the Western Athletic Conference basketball tournament beginning next year.

Whether it is attractive enough to fend off bids from Fresno State, Tulsa and Dallas-Fort Worth, Bowl Games of Hawaii chief executive officer Lenny Klompus won't know for sure until May 2.

"But I believe our bid will be a very competitive one," Klompus said yesterday. "We have helped defray costs for travel and hotels. We also will include a six-figure cash payment."

Tulsa figures to be the main competition. The city may propose a cash payment as high as $500,000.

Las Vegas hosted the WAC tournament the past three years. That city included a $1 million cash payout in its proposal. Even though the WAC basketball event won't be held there, it's likely the Las Vegas Bowl will be the site for the league champion in football.

"We would still like to consider a WAC team for the Oahu Bowl, but we can't guarantee them that spot," Klompus said. "I know the commissioner (Karl Benson) wants a guaranteed bowl game, and I can understand that, but ESPN (which is televising the game) wants to keep that spot open."

It's believed Benson is close to signing a television deal with Fox Sports West to televise some football and basketball games, including the WAC tournament.

"But if that should fall through, we believe we can put together our own television deal with a string of independent stations," Klompus said. "That is also in our proposal."

Klompus is working in conjunction with the University of Hawaii. The Stan Sheriff Center would be the site for the men's and women's championships.

"We're very excited about this proposal," UH athletic director Hugh Yoshida said. "We've put together an attractive bid that is based on help from the Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism. We anticipate the event will draw over 3,500 visitors to the islands."

Klompus would like the tournament to be held a week earlier than the other conference events.

"That way, we would be the only game in town," Klompus said. "And it would also give the champion a chance to rest before going on to the NCAA tournament."

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