Local ticket sales for the Maui Invitational begin Tuesday and will be digital only | News, Sports, Jobs

A full house watches as Duke and San Diego State play the 2018 Maui Jim Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center. The tournament returns to the Valley Isle this year on November 21-23 after the last two events were moved to the mainland due to pandemic restrictions. Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER file photo

For the first time since 2019, the Maui Jim Maui Invitational will be held at the Lahaina Civic Center and tickets to the event go on sale Tuesday at 10 a.m. HST to local residents, organizer KemperLesnik said in an email to The Maui News.

The men’s varsity basketball tournament will be held Nov. 21-23 — the Nov. 21 first-round matchups are Texas Tech vs. Creighton, Louisville vs. Arkansas, Ohio State vs. San Diego State, and Cincinnati vs. Arizona.

Maui residents can purchase either all-day or single-game tickets, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis. To purchase tickets, residents must visit mauiinvitational.com – all tickets will be digital this year, no paper tickets will be sold on the island as has been the case in the past.

Averaged between the two options (full-day or single-game), the Kama’aina discount is about 36 percent, according to KemperLesnik officials.

Depending on the location, single game ticket discounts are 27 to 50 percent, day tickets are around 26 percent cheaper.

“We are extremely excited to bring the Maui Jim Maui Invitational back to its rightful home on Maui this year after a two-year absence.” Tournament director Nelson Taylor announced this by telephone on Tuesday. “The support of our fans and Ohana on the island is critical to our success and brings across great basketball and great teams. We constantly hear from the mainland teams that the atmosphere at the Lahaina Civic Center is second to none.

“I think you can maybe draw on Bill Self (Kansas coach) or one of our big name coaches that given the size of the venue and the fact that the fans are above the player, the atmosphere certainly rivals the atmosphere of the Final Four can – I think our fans on Maui play a key role in that.”

There is a limit of two tickets per person per transaction, and all Valley Isle residents must have a Maui zip code to purchase tickets. Only Maui residents have access to these tickets, and it will be everyone’s premier opportunity to purchase tickets for a single game.

All-day tickets are located in the North Stands at a center court location – these seats are reserved specifically for Maui residents and are not sold as part of fan travel packages.

This year locals will have the same number of tickets available as in previous years.

“We’re always happy to offer these discounted tickets in a few preferred seats.” Taylor said. “Making some single game tickets available to people on the island before they become available to others on a single game basis and we will always have that allocation for them and plan for each year.

“Same amount (of local tickets) as always, same place. The only difference for us this year is that the pandemic has obviously changed some things operationally. One thing we are doing is moving to digital tickets that can be downloaded to your Apple device or any Android device.”

Taylor is overjoyed to know the event will be back at the LCC after the pandemic forced it to be held in Asheville, NC in 2020 and Las Vegas in 2021.

“None of it is like it’s on Maui at the Lahaina Civic Center.” Taylor said. “Whenever you speak to (Tournament Chairman) Dave Odom, he will always speak to you about the ‘Maui Magic’ and we look forward to being back home. I’ve been over to the Lahaina Civic Center, they’ve had some new billboards come out in the last two years, so this is going to be fun. The decals are still down from (three) years ago.

“It’s almost like we’ve never been away. We have great partners on the island, ourselves and the County of Maui, both with the Parks Department, the Mayor’s Office, our hotels and other people who support the tournament – we’re excited to see everyone again.”

Taylor said the pandemic has put several things into perspective for KemperLesnik, including the fact that they are the best visiting group they can be on Maui.

“We’re going to make a great return to Maui,” Taylor said. “One thing that I think fans can look to when they come to the games is that we really look at how we welcome the return by making sure we’re responsible in promoting sustainable tourism and things promote recycled and reusable gift bags at our merchandise booth and really promote Hawaiian culture appropriately.”

* Robert Collias can be reached at [email protected]

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