A star-spangled affair as Sport Changes Life announces partnerships with Tourism Northern Ireland and Aer Lingus for the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic

Getting into the spirit of Independence Day, Tourism Northern Ireland and Aer Lingus announce their partnership with the Sport Changes Life foundation and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic.  Taking place on 1st and 2nd December 2017 at the Belfast SSE Arena, the two-day basketball tournament will welcome over 1,000 players, cheer teams, bands, supporters and alumni from four American universities as they go head-to-head to compete in the first of its kind competitive collegiate basketball tournament outside of America.

Speaking at the launch Gareth Maguire, CEO of Sport Changes Life foundation said, “Our focus is on raising aspirations of young people on both sides of the Atlantic. We had an idea to present a world-class tournament in Belfast and the support of Tourism NI and Aer Lingus is helping us to make this a reality.”

Discussing the opportunity to showcase N­­orthern Ireland to a new audience of American visitors, John McGrillen, Chief Executive of Tourism Northern Ireland added, “North America is a key market for our local tourism industry. The Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic is a unique opportunity to demonstrate why we are a destination firmly on the rise. With extensive global broadcast reach together with opportunities for player endorsement, social media engagement and advertising, this tournament will provide positive world-wide exposure for Northern Ireland. We look forward to working alongside our colleagues in Tourism Ireland to maximize the tourism potential of this event in the United States and beyond.”

Basketball enthusiasts will arrive in late November not only to cheer on their favourite teams, but also to take in the best of what Northern Ireland has to offer in terms of outstanding food and drink offerings, stunning landscapes including filming spots for the wildly popular Game of Thrones television series, and even festive offerings pre-Christmas including the Christmas Market at Belfast City Hall.

In celebration of their support for the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic, Aer Lingus is currently offering special flight rates to encourage enthusiasts from America to follow their favourite teams to Belfast.

Declan Kearney, Director of Communications, Aer Lingus said, “Everyone at Aer Lingus is excited to be part of this fantastic tournament. It is our privilege to fly the teams and their loyal fans across the Atlantic and we look forward to providing them with a warm welcome on board.”

This unique event is already attracting wide interest and Marc Mulholland, Executive Director of the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic, believes that “having the support of Tourism NI and Aer Lingus is invaluable and gives us the best ingredients to stage this exciting event with the aim of ensuring people leave smitten with basketball, Belfast and Northern Ireland.”

For more information on travel packages and tickets visit www.belfastbasketballclassic.com.