LAS VEGAS -- The Pac-12 will stage a regular season game in China in 2015, becoming the first major U.S. sports league, collegiate or professional, to host a regular-season contest in the country, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott announced on Saturday.
The game will be held on Nov. 14, 2015 (Nov. 13 in the U.S.) and will feature the Pac-12’s Washington playing a non-conference game against Texas. Current Pac-12 broadcast partner ESPN will televise the game live in the United States.
Since launching its Globalization Initiative in 2011, the Pac-12 has sent men’s (UCLA and ASU) and women’s basketball teams (Cal), a women’s all-star volleyball team, and a delegation of men’s basketball coaches to China for competitive exhibitions and clinics.
As part of the initiative, the Conference has signed a long-term Memo of Understanding with the Federation University Sports China (FUSC), the country’s national organization for university sports that operates under the Ministry of Education. The Pac-12 hosted a delegation from the FUSC this week in Las Vegas at the second annual U.S.-China Symposium on Collegiate Sports Development. The delegation, which included 20 athletic directors from leading Chinese universities, participated in a daylong symposium with Pac-12 leadership and representatives from our universities, including UCLA Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero, California Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach Jay John, and Paul Swangard, the Managing Director of Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at Oregon.
“The Pac-12 and our universities are proud to be pioneers in China,” Scott said. “This event is a great step forward for our initiative designed to use sport and cultural exchange to support the international strategies that many of our universities have embarked on to extend their reach into China and promote good will between our two countries.”
This vision is for this event to become an annual component of the Pac-12 men’s basketball season with a Pac-12 team playing a prominent non-conference opponent. In addition to the event, the Pac-12 and the local Chinese host will develop ancillary events like youth activities, academic forums, and symposia to promote the initiative and the participating universities.
“We are excited to represent the Pac-12 as its launches this innovative addition to the basketball season,” Washington Director of Athletics Scott Woodward said. “The event offers a unique bonding experience for the student-athletes early in the season and an excellent forum to showcase the university and connect with Washington alumni in China."
Expanding the reach of the Longhorn brand is a priority for first-year Texas athletic director Steve Patterson. In his previous role at Arizona State, he brought the ASU men’s basketball team to China in 2013 as part of the Pac-12 Globalization Initiative.
“We are excited to be opening the 2015-2016 season against the Washington Huskies in China,” Patterson said. “This will be a great educational experience for our student-athletes and another opportunity to strengthen the university’s brand in the world’s most populous country.”
The game is tentatively scheduled to tip at 11:00 a.m. local time, which puts it at 7 p.m. on the U.S. West Coast, 9 p.m. in Texas, and 10 p.m. ET.