One of college basketball's premier early-season tournaments, the 2009 EA Sports Maui Invitational brought $6 million in visitor spending to the Valley Isle.
According to the Maui Visitors Bureau, thousands of out-of-state visitors came to attend the event, spending an average of six days on the island. Since its introduction in the fall of 1984, the college basketball tournament has generated more than $140 million in visitor spending.
"The EA Sports Maui Invitational is an unbeatable marketing tool for the island of Maui," Chip Bahouth, general manager of the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, said in a statement. "It is an invaluable event for Kaanapali and the entire island of Maui, because it brings the beauty and magic of Maui to millions of viewers. We are very fortunate to have such an iconic event and hope that it stays in Kaanapali for many years to come."
According to Mayi Invitational officials, 4.4 million viewers tuned into this year's 12 live tournament games broadcast on ESPN, ESPN 2 and ESPN U.
Next year's tournament will feature the men's basketball teams from universities such as Kentucky, Michigan State, Connecticut and Oklahoma beginning Nov. 22 at the Lahaina Civic Center.