- National Teams
NCAA basketball will be coming to Ireland later this year, after the 2022 MAAC/ASUN Dublin Basketball Challenge has been announced, to be held at the National Basketball Arena in Dublin, on November 18 and 19.
The venture is a joint partnership between the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) and Atlantic Sun Conference (ASUN) and Inspirus Sports Management, the same group behind the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic which last happened in 2018.
The MAAC/ASUN Challenge, for one year only, will move to Dublin, Ireland featuring men’s and women’s teams from both Division I leagues. The field will include eight total teams, comprised of two men’s teams and two women’s teams from each conference.
It means British fans will have NCAA basketball in reachable distance twice this year, with the Basketball Hall of Fame London Showcase happening at the O2 Arena, London, in December.
“We at the MAAC are very excited, along with our colleagues ASUN Commissioner Ted Gumbart and his staff, to be taking the MAAC/ASUN Challenge concept to a new level with an international audience with our partners at Inspirus Sports,” said MAAC Commissioner, Rich Ensor.
“The MAAC staff contributed to the great success of the Belfast Basketball Classics in 2017 and 2018 and as we continue to grow the MAAC schools’ brands internationally and are very much looking forward to giving Irish basketball fans a taste of collegiate basketball in Dublin.”
The MAAC first partnered with Sport Changes Life and Inspirus Sports in 2017 and 2018 for the Belfast Basketball Classic. The original events held in Belfast made sporting history in bringing the first Division I college four team and eight team tournaments to Europe.
“Inspirus Sports is very proud to announce that we are launching this partnership with the MAAC and ASUN as we kick start our event series bringing US Collegiate D1 basketball to a global audience,” said Inspirus Sports CEO, Scott McCarthy.
“As international events begin to return as the pandemic winds down, we are thrilled to be able to host this great event with our partners in Dublin,” McCarthy continued.
“We are so excited to welcome the opportunity to host this event in Dublin with the great addition of bringing division I female basketball to the island. We recognised in 2018, with our Hall of Famer Ambassador Katie Smith, we had so much more work to do bringing equality to our event properties. The ambition and talent of Irish women in our sport of basketball deserve equal recognition and we hope our event will continue to help and make a significant impact to this objective growing the female game,” said Marc Mulholland, Executive Director.
Gareth Maguire, Chairman & Founder of Inspirus Sports added, “We are so very proud to continue to build on the great work that the Sports Changes Life Foundation has delivered with the Belfast Events and together with our partners at the MAAC and ASUN and the team at Inspirus Sports as we plan to show that we have a unique business model, with a clear emphasis on social responsibility that will not only help the sport of basketball grow on a global stage but address vital messaging around our work with international study abroad.
“This is just the beginning of a global strategy, that was halted by the pandemic, as we reconnect the world through sport and education.”
Participating teams will be announced at a later date.