HONOLULU – Jul. 16, 2009 - Continuing its support for University of Hawaii Athletics, Hawaiian Airlines today was announced as title sponsor for the inaugural Diamond Head Classic basketball tournament, taking place Dec. 22, 23, and 25 at the Stan Sheriff Center.
The Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic will be televised nationally on the ESPN family of
networks and will feature an eight-team field including the host University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors,
USC, UNLV, SMU, Saint Mary’s (Calif.), College of Charleston, Northeastern and Western Michigan.
“The partnership with Hawaiian Airlines aligns us with a premier travel company and allows us
to develop the Diamond Head Classic from the beginning as a first-class event,” said Pete Derzis, senior
vice president & general manager, ESPN Regional Television. “It also strengthens our marketing efforts,
both regionally and nationally, to ensure that fans, the community and the teams, coaches and staffs who
participate and bring their families will enjoy the great experience of college basketball and the beautiful
destination of Hawaii.”
Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian’s president and CEO, commented, “We value our longstanding
relationship with UH Athletics and are pleased to be able to help bring national exposure for our
hometown team and a boost to Hawaii’s tourism industry.”
Ten of the 12 tournament games will be telecast nationally on the ESPN networks, providing both
UH and the state’s tourism industry with a tremendous boost of publicity at a time when most viewers
will be coping with the chill of winter.
As title sponsor, Hawaiian is providing transportation and marketing support through 2011,
significantly reducing the costs for holding the tournament while helping with its promotion.
Jim Donovan, athletics director for the University of Hawaii at Manoa, said, “Hawaiian Airlines
was UH Athletics’ first-ever title sponsor over 20 years ago, and I’m pleased that Hawaiian has stepped
up again to become the title sponsor of the Diamond Head Classic. The national exposure this tournament
brings will help carry UH Athletics to a new level.”
UH Head Coach Bob Nash, added, “Hawaiian Airlines is an iconic Hawaii business and I
couldn’t imagine a more fitting sponsor for this tournament.”
David Matlin, the executive director for the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, also
oversees the Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl, which takes place Dec. 24 at Aloha Stadium. He noted that the two
sporting events combined will generate more than 25 hours of national TV exposure for Hawaii during
the four-day period of Dec. 22-25.
About Hawaiian Airlines
Hawaiian is the nation’s highest-ranked carrier for service quality and performance in 2008 in the
19th annual Airline Quality Rating study. Hawaiian has also led all U.S. carriers in on-time performance
for each of the past five years (2004-2008) and has been an industry leader in fewest misplaced bags
during that same period (#1 from 2005-2007, #2 in 2008) as reported by the U.S. Department of
Transportation. Consumer surveys by Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and Zagat have all ranked
Hawaiian as the top domestic airline serving Hawaii.
Hawaiian will mark 80 years of continuous service for Hawaii on November 11, 2009. Hawaiian
is the state’s biggest and longest-serving airline, as well as the largest provider of passenger air service to
Hawaii from the state’s primary visitor markets on the U.S. mainland. Hawaiian offers nonstop service to
Hawaii from more U.S. gateway cities (10) than any other airline, as well as service to the Philippines,
Australia, American Samoa, and Tahiti. Hawaiian also provides more than 160 daily jet flights within the
Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. is a subsidiary of Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: HA). Additional
information is available at HawaiianAirlines.com.
ESPN Regional Television/Event Ownership
The nation’s largest syndicator of collegiate sports programming, ESPN Regional Television
(ERT) annually produces more than 1,000 telecasts of sporting events. Programming includes football,
basketball, NCAA events, golf and NHRA events accounting for more than 2,200 live and/or original
hours of programming. In addition to event ownership, ERT is the production headquarters for ESPNU,
the 24-hour college sports network; syndication rights-holder and producer of national, regional and local
shows for college conferences (e.g. – SEC, BIG EAST, Big 12, Mid-American, Sun Belt, WAC).
ESPN Regional Television markets and/or owns several sporting events, including collegiate
football events: the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth, Texas); MAACO Bowl Las Vegas;
New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Papajohns.com Bowl (Birmingham, Ala.); Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl
(Honolulu); St. Petersburg Bowl; the MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney (Orlando, Fla.) ; and
The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards; collegiate basketball events: the 76 Classic
(Anaheim, Calif.); Charleston Classic (S.C.); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Old
Spice Classic (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off
(San Juan); All-College Classic (Oklahoma City); SEC/BIG EAST Invitational; and ESPNU
BracketBusters; as well as the ESPN National Golf Challenge presented by Callaway. For more
information, visit ESPNPlus.com.
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