UCSD college basketball Thanksgiving
LionTree Arena at UC San Diego. Photo credit: ucsdtritons.com

This fall, San Diego will host the inaugural Rady Children’s Invitational, an annual college basketball tournament set for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The two-day invitational tips off on Nov. 23, Thanksgiving Day, at UC San Diego’s LionTree Arena, which seats 4,000,

The first field includes the Iowa Hawkeyes (Big Ten), USC Trojans (Pac-12), Seton
Hall Pirates (Big East) and the Oklahoma Sooners (Big 12).

Sports San Diego, producers of the Holiday Bowl and the non-profit organization that seeks to drive sports tourism to the region, partnered with Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, to create the tournament.

The event will target NCAA Division 1 teams from top conferences, during a period when competition is stiff, both on and off the mainland, to attract teams for early-season tourneys.

This season, similar tournaments were held in Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Bahamas and Jamaica. San Diego State for instance, has played in such events in Las Vegas and Maui.

Despite the crowded landscape, organizers said the Rady Children’s Invitational is “positioned to be one of the premier invitational tournaments in the country.”

Mark Neville, CEO of Sports San Diego, said the goal is “to produce the very best and most special early season college basketball tournament in the country.

“San Diego is the perfect place to do this,” he added.

First-day matchups and tip times will be announced in the coming months. The third-place and championship games will take place on the second day.

Admission ranges from $35 to $125 per session. Full tournament tickets will be available.
Tickets go on sale March 31, with $5 per ticket to be donated to Rady Children’s Hospital.

The games will be televised by FOX Sports. Fields for future years will be announced at a later date.