Downtown Oklahoma City will be invaded by basketball fans on
Saturday for the 67th edition of what began as the All-College
Basketball Tournament in 1937.
It is the oldest college basketball tournament.
The Touchstone Energy All-College Basketball Classic at the Ford
Center will feature Oklahoma State University vs. Brigham Young
University at 5:30 p.m. and the University of Oklahoma vs. Michigan
State at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18, $35 and $42.
The All-College Basketball Tournament was first sponsored and
organized by the Oklahoma Publishing Co. The All Sports Association
was formed in 1957 to serve as sponsor. For the next 43 years, the
All Sports Association played a large role in hosting as many as 32
teams each year.
In 2000, the All Sports Association decided to secure a title
sponsor to enhance the event and provide the financial support
necessary to recruit the quality teams. At the same time, the
electric cooperatives of Oklahoma, under the brand name Touchstone
Energy, were also looking for sponsorship opportunities.
"As we (Touchstone Energy) were looking for sponsorship
opportunities, we quickly realized the benefits of becoming the
title sponsor of the All-College Basketball Tournament," said
Western Farmers Electric Cooperative General Manager Jim O'Neill.
"We have been extremely pleased with our partnership with the All
Sports Association and the results the sponsorship money has enabled
the event to accomplish."
"Touchstone Energy was selected because they had a very strong
name in the local and national market," said Tim Brassfield, All
Sports Association executive director. "Electric cooperatives are
very stable companies with a reputation for successfully marketing
other sports-related activities under the Touchstone Energy brand."
The tournament was altered to a two-game classic format in 2001,
moving the games to just one night and creating a new name -- the
Touchstone Energy All-College Basketball Classic. For the first time
this year, ESPN and ESPN2 will broadcast the games live.
"The All-College Classic was a sellout last year, and it appears
it will be again this year," O'Neill said. "We especially look
forward to the exciting changes this year of moving to the Ford
Center and our partnership with ESPN."
Since beginning their partnership, Touchstone Energy and the All
Sports Association have also created two new events, the Touchstone
Basketball Adventure and Leadership Summit, providing more
opportunities for families to participate in sports-related
activities the day of the games.
"The financial benefits from Touchstone's title sponsorship has
allowed us to better the field, specifically through obtaining
better quality teams as well as increasing exposure of the event,"
Touchstone Energy and the All Sports Association also present the
Touchstone Basketball Adventure, now in its second year. A hands-
on, interactive kids event, the Touchstone Basketball Adventure is
free and open to the public. Scheduled in the Cox Convention Center
from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, the Basketball Adventure includes
inflatables, the AT&T Wireless Hoop World, Sports City U Basketball
Clinic and prizes.
Touchstone Energy and 20 of Oklahoma's local electric
cooperatives also present Leadership Summit, an all-day seminar
designed to provide high school students an opportunity to receive
valuable training from coaches, learn reporting skills from members
of the media and write press releases for submission to their local