The Rainbow Classic's End Is Nigh

It has been noted that rising fuel prices might encourage a new wave of conference expansion. The high cost of traveling too far for tournaments has forced the scaling back of the Great Alaskan Shootout, and put its future in doubt.

Now comes word that ESPN has decided to have a Hawaiian tournament of its own.

ESPN and the University of Hawaii on Monday announced a new eight-team, holiday men's college basketball tournament starting in 2009.

The Diamond Head Classic will feature 12 games played over three days, around the Dec. 24 Hawaii Bowl football game, with the championship played on Christmas.

Pete Derzis, senior vice president and general manager of ESPN Regional Television, said a minimum of 10 games will be televised nationally on one of its cable channels.

Not surprisingly, ESPN is reporting plenty of interest from programs in being a part of this. You think? They do happen to be able to guarantee showing every game played somewhere on their ESPN channels.

This will be the fifth basketball tournament ESPN owns and operates. On top of that, they got the Hawaii Tourism Authority to kick in $1.1 million to help pay for the tournament.

It wasn't as if the Rainbow Classic at the University of Hawaii was thriving before this. It had little to no media exposure. It lost money last year because of the costs associated with flying all of the teams to Hawaii. There are plans to scale it back from eight teams to a four-team round-robin. Plus it has to compete with the much more popular Maui Invitational, hosted by Chaminade University. Expect the Rainbow Classic to disappear sometime in the next couple of years.

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