Multimillion-Dollar College Basketball Showdown Coming to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving

  • Creighton on Friday committed as the eighth college team for the Thanksgiving festival
  • The multimillion-dollar festival will see all the money go to college’s NIL arms for disbursement
  • Games are set for MGM’s T-Mobile Arena, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Michelob Ultra Arena
An eight-team college tournament is reportedly coming to MGM sports arenas in Las Vegas over Thanksgiving week. [Image:]

A tantalizing new college basketball tournament is coming to Las Vegas over Thanksgiving week with eight teams reportedly committed to the three-day event.

Creighton was the final team to formally commit to the Players Era Festival

CBS Sports reported Creighton was the final team to formally commit to the Players Era Festival tournament event on Friday, joining Alabama, Houston, Notre Dame, Rutgers, San Diego State, Oregon, and Texas A&M on the 2024 roster.

Bankrolled by United Arab Emirates-linked Redbird International Media Investments, the basketball festival, which will include live music and entertainment for fans, means business. Sources state “Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Michigan, Syracuse and Virginia have all engaged in discussions about potentially playing in 2025,” with the aim to get next years roster up to 16 teams.

For 2024, all eight teams will receive $1m each with the festival victor pocketing an additional windfall of as much as $1m. What’s different about this basketball tournament is that the money will go straight to the participating colleges’ name, image, and likeness collectives. The NIL arms will then disburse the money to the players who “will be required to participate in multiple off-the-court activities” over the festival days of November 26, 27, and 29.

While the Las Vegas Review-Journal cited an MGM spokesperson as stating “nothing has been confirmed” sources report the event will take place “at any or all” of the brand’s venues – the T-Mobile Arena, the MGM Grand Garden Arena, or the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas.

According to media reports, the founder of San Diego State’s collective Jeff Smith, said the Vegas Thanksgiving week tournament “looks like it’s moving forward. We’re told it’s in the final stages.”

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