Sporting event boost to economy

The 30th annual EA Sports Maui Invitational drew nearly 5,000 visitors and contributed an estimated $12.7 million to the Valley Isle’s economy in November, according to an announcement.

Since the men’s college basketball tournament’s inception in 1984, it has contributed more than $177 million to the island’s economy, the announcement stated. Overall, there have been players, coaches, boosters and fans from 99 schools representing 23 conferences and 40 states in the tournament’s history on Maui.

Syracuse won the 2013 tournament, held Nov. 25-27 at the Lahaina Civic Center, beating Baylor in the championship game and then moving up to the No. 4 slot in national rankings. Syracuse has won three Maui Invitational titles.

“For 30 years, the EA Sports Maui Invitational has continued to bring thousands of visitors to the County of Maui during Thanksgiving week,” said Terryl Vencl, executive director of the Maui Visitors Bureau. “These visitors patronize many of our local businesses, including our hotels and restaurants and experience the aloha spirit firsthand. It is a tremendous benefit to our islands to showcase the Hawaiian culture, beauty and people to such a diverse audience.”

In addition to the island’s exposure to visitors, Maui’s beaches and beauty were showcased to 6.7 million viewers across the globe on ESPN telecasts. All 12 games were broadcast live on the ESPN networks and simulcast on and the WatchESPN app. Tournament games also were seen internationally on ESPN/ESPN2 Australia, ESPN Caribbean and ESPN Pacific Rim.

The 2014 Maui Invitational will be held Nov. 24-26 at the Lahaina Civic Center. Participating teams include Arizona, San Diego State, Pittsburgh, Brigham Young University, Kansas State, Missouri, Purdue and host Chaminade.