Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, September 27, 1999

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

TV exposure
a priority to Rainbow
Classic sponsor

By Pat Bigold


Outrigger Hotels will likely decrease the size of its title sponsorship in the Rainbow Classic if it is only broadcast locally.

Bryan Klum, the hotel chain's marketing director, said national TV exposure is a contractual requirement for the $100,000 investment Outrigger has made the past several years.

ESPN ended a four-year arrangement with the classic after the Western Athletic Conference signed a football-basketball TV deal with Fox Sports Net.

But Fox said this week it has no plans to televise the classic, leaving the event with no apparent means of national exposure for this year.

"We have to take a look at our involvement if there is no coverage outside Hawaii," said Klum. "We do derive a local business benefit from having it broadcast here, but is it worth $100,000? That's the question."

Hawaii athletic director Hugh Yoshida could not be reached for comment. He was in Texas for today's football game against Southern Methodist.

But Klum said Outrigger remains very interested in the holiday event, scheduled for Dec. 27-30 at the Stan Sheriff Center.

He said that if an attractive regional TV package could be put together that ensures coverage in major western states markets, there exists a possibility that Outrigger's investment in the 36th edition of the Rainbow Classic would remain substantial.

"We're talking markets like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle," said Klum. "The majority of our business comes from the western states and 25 percent comes from California."

Klum said that Outrigger has had a major stake in the Rainbow Classic and is not inclined to pull out completely, no matter what the circumstances this year.

"We are more inclined to stay with this, and take a long-term view on how this difficulty can be fixed in 2000," he said.

If strength of field remains a major factor for resuming national coverage next year, Hawaii could once again face difficulty attracting a national TV deal.

The Rainbows compete with four other nonconference tournaments in the islands for nationally ranked teams. Chaminade, HPU, BYU-Hawaii and UH-Hilo all have their own tournaments.

All of these events benefit from a NCAA exemption allowing Division I-A teams to play an extra game here.

An amendment to the NCAA exemption allows a mainland program to use it only once every four years.

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