ESPN Cancels College Basketball Tournaments Planned for ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

ESPN has announced that they have cancelled plans to hold several men’s college basketball tournaments at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Walt Disney World.

  • ESPN had planned to host eight of its 10 men’s college basketball events in Walt Disney World.
  • Those eight tournaments included:
    • The Champions Classic
    • Charleston Classic
    • Myrtle Beach Invitational
    • NIT Season Tip-Off
    • Wooden Legacy
    • Orlando Invitational
    • Jimmy V Classic
    • Diamond Head Classic
  • The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex successfully played host to the NBA when they restarted their season this summer.
  • ESPN cited challenges around testing protocols as their primary reason for cancelling their events.
  • The challenges in question refer to re-testing players who had already previously tested positive for coronavirus and been cleared.
  • Protocols for a player testing positive while in the Orlando bubble were also a key discussion post.
  • The bubble for these tournaments was expected to run from November 25 into early December, with the Champions Classic and Jimmy V Classic headlining.
  • There is still hope for those two tournaments to move another location for this season, while the other six are expected to simply resume in 2021.
  • Some of the marquee games featured in the Champions Classic include:
    •  Michigan State vs. Duke
    • Kansas vs. Kentucky
  • The Jimmy V Classic was planned to feature:
    • Baylor vs. Illinois
    • Gonzaga vs. Tennessee

What they’re saying:

  • Statement from ESPN: “ESPN Events set out to create a protected environment for teams to participate in early-season events in Orlando. Based on certain challenges surrounding testing protocols, we opted to resume these tournaments during the 2021-22 season.”