CCU hosting Myrtle Beach Invitational

Coastal Carolina University hosted the Myrtle Beach Invitational basketball tournament in 2019.

The 2020 Myrtle Beach Invitational college basketball tournament that was set for the fall will not be played along the Grand Strand this year.

This follows a decision by the NCAA Division I Council to push the start date for men’s basketball from Nov. 15 to Nov. 25 and continued concerns about hosting sports events during the pandemic, according to a news release from the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. 

ESPN Events is continuing to evaluate the next steps for their owned and operated events, which includes the Myrtle Beach Invitational, as conferences make decisions about their seasons.

“While we are disappointed that the Myrtle Beach Invitational will not be played in Myrtle Beach as planned, we recognize that adjustments are being made for all sporting events this year,” Karen Riordan, the chamber’s president and CEO, said.

“This change is not a reflection of our community, it is simply another unfortunate loss because of ongoing concerns with the virus. We have a strong, positive relationship with ESPN and look forward to welcoming the Invitational back to Myrtle Beach in 2021.”

The 2020 tournament had been set for Nov. 19, 20 and 22 at the HTC Center on Coastal Carolina University’s campus in Conway. The Division 1 tournament has an estimated annual impact of $2 million, according to the chamber.

“The impact this event has on our shoulder season is significant and a prime reason we initially brought the event to Myrtle Beach in 2018,” Jonathan Paris, executive director of sports tourism for Visit Myrtle Beach, said.

“In a typical year, the event had more than 1,600 total room nights contracted over five nights, not including our out of town fans which are harder to track specifically. In addition to the hotel impact, our restaurants and attractions felt the impact of the teams and fans in the area. However, all sporting events in 2020 have been limited in terms of fans and overall capacity, so we would not have expected that same level of impact from the traveling fans this year.”

The tournament has a bracket format with 12 games taking place over three days. Each team competes in one game per day no matter the results.

Dayton, Charlotte, Missouri, Loyola Chicago, Utah State, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh were all set to compete at the HTC Center in this year’s Invitational.

During the 2019 event, Baylor defeated Villanova in the final.

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