Carrier Classic officials outline plans to transform Yorktown deck into basketball arena
How do you transform the deck of an nearly 900-foot-long aircraft carrier into a basketball arena?
Organizers for the upcoming Carrier Classic basketball tournament will outline their plans today on the World War II-era Yorktown at Patriots Point.
The flight deck of the naval and maritime museum’s centerpiece tourist attraction will serve as the court when four teams play on the storied military vessel on Nov. 9.
The doubleheader will include the Ohio State women taking on last season’s national runner-up Notre Dame and the Ohio State men playing Marquette.
The first event last year was aboard the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson near San Diego and featured North Carolina and Michigan State. President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and several other dignitaries were among the spectators.
The event will require the construction of a 4,000-seat spectator stand along with a floor, lighting and scoreboard, a process that could take up to nine days.
Money raised from the event will go to military-related charities yet to be determined, but organizer Mike Whalen of Morale Entertainment Foundation said earlier this year the Medal of Honor Society would be a recipient, since the museum is on the Yorktown.
“This is a big event,” Patriots Point Executive Director Mac Burdette said when it was announced in March that the tournament was coming to Charleston. “It will give us national exposure worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in free advertising, and it could have a significant economic impact on the Charleston region.”
Whalen said last year’s event generated about 12,000 hotel room nights for San Diego for the 8,200-seat game, and it generated about $12 million for that area’s economy, by his estimates.
The older Yorktown is smaller than the Carl Vinson, so it can’t hold as many seats. The Yorktown is 888 feet long and 196 feet wide. The Carl Vinson is 1,092 feet long and 252 feet wide.
Burdette estimated that the event will generate between 6,000 and 7,000 room nights for Charleston-area hotels, and organizers will have to rent cranes and other equipment for the event.
Check back later for more details.
Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.