Jul 8, 2021 - News

Charlotte to host inaugural Jumpman college basketball invitational in 2022

Photo: Katie Peralta Soloff/Axios

The Charlotte Sports Foundation and Jordan Brand signed a three-year deal for a major men’s and women’s college basketball tournament December 20-21, 2022, called the Jumpman Invitational.

Details: It will be at the Spectrum Center and will feature four schools that have partnership deals with Jordan Brand in both football and basketball: UNC, Florida, Oklahoma and Michigan. The invitational will include two games each night, all aired on ESPN. Matchups and game times are still TBD.

Event organizers say the Jumpman Invitational stands apart because it will guarantee the same student-athlete experience for men and women. That means they’ll stay at the same hotels, play on the same court and have the same amenities.

Why it matters: The invitational will be “a signature high-profile, legacy-type event” for Charlotte, says Danny Morrison, executive director of the Charlotte Sports Foundation.

Charlotte is the ideal place for the event, Morrison added, given its long history of hosting college basketball games, from tournaments in the 1960s out at the old Charlotte Coliseum on Independence (now called Bojangles) to the ACC basketball and CIAA tournaments in recent years at the Spectrum Center.

“In a lot of ways this is another evolution of great college basketball in Charlotte,” Morrison says.

Looking ahead: The Charlotte Sports Foundation and Jordan Brand left open the possibility of extending the invitational beyond its current three-year deal, Morrison says, and to other Jordan Brand schools. UCLA, for instance, became a Jordan Brand school in basketball and football this year.

Flashback: Planning for the Jumpman Invitational began two years ago with an idea from Oklahoma athletics director Joe Castiglione, who wanted to get Jordan Brand schools together for a tournament. Morrison, the former Panthers president who’s known Castiglione for years, began working on the project as soon as he took the helm at CSF in 2019.

Charlotte was always the first choice for the invitational, Morrison says, given all that’s here: the airport, ESPN presence, the Hornets, owner Michael Jordan, president Fred Whitfield, and the Spectrum Center.

“A lot of the pieces of the puzzle were there. It was just a matter of how can we put the pieces of the puzzle together,” Morrison says.

Here’s what the event logo looks like:

Logo: Jordan Brand courtesy of the Charlotte Sports Foundation

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Charlotte.

More Charlotte stories