ESPN Hits Sea Floor Running; Announces Veterans Day NCAA Hoops on Aircraft Carrier

College basketball will hit the high seas next season as ESPN has reached a deal with the Morale Entertainment Foundation to televise Michigan State vs. North Carolina in the Carrier Classic 11-11-11, the first men’s college basketball game to be played on the deck of a U.S. military aircraft carrier, on Friday, Nov. 11. The United States military ship to host the unique Veteran’s Day event honoring the men and women in the armed forces is to be determined but will be positioned in the San Diego harbor.

A basketball court with seating for approximately 7,000 fans will be constructed on the flight deck. The game, which will begin at 11 p.m. ET, will be played below the flight deck in the event of rain. Tickets will not be for sale.

As part of the telecast, ESPN will televise a special halftime entertainment show and post-game concert organized by Morale Entertainment Foundation. Specific coverage plans for the Carrier Classic 11-11-11, featuring a rematch of the 2009 National Championship won by North Carolina, are being finalized.

The Carrier Classic 11-11-11 will mark the first men’s college basketball telecast of the 2011-12 season on ESPN or ESPN2 (ESPNU will open the season with Coaches vs. Cancer matchups).

“We are privileged to be a part of this tremendous initiative honoring our veterans and troops,” says Nick Dawson, ESPN director, programming. “We commend Morale Entertainment, Michigan State University and the University of North Carolina and the United States Navy for their creativity and enthusiasm. It’s exciting to still be able to televise new and unique games after 32 years and more than 9,500 live game telecasts.”

The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Wounded Warrior Project, the San Diego Air and Space Museum and the San Diego Sports Commission are assisting game organizer Morale Entertainment Foundation with various elements surrounding the event.

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