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Steve Alford: New Mexico inks exempt tournament deal with ESPN

New Mexico Lobos men's basketball head coach Steve Alford said Friday morning in an interview with an Albuquerque sports radio station that UNM has inked a deal with ESPN to participate in one exempt tournament a year for four years starting with the Charleston Classic in 2013.

Ethan Miller - Getty Images
New Mexico men's basketball head coach Steve Alford made the announcement of the UNM-ESPN deal during an appearance on The Opening Drive on Albuquerque's 610 The Sports Animal (KNML-AM) Friday morning,

Towards the end of his 15-minute segment with Jeff Siembieda and J.J. Buck, UNM Coach Steve Alford said that UNM recently signed a four-year deal with ESPN to appear in the networks exempt tournaments starting with the 2013-14 season. Alford said the Lobos will be appearing in the Charleston Classic next season.
"We've gone into a four-year deal with ESPN on exempt tournaments just because not knowing our TV package, not knowing what's going to happen with our regional TV or anything else I can't just sit back and wait to see what that looks like," said Alford during the interview. "I've got make sure that we get our name and our brand and our program out there nationally.

"So we've gone into an agreement with ESPN with exempt tournaments starting next year in Charleston. We'll end up being four straight tournaments on television like Anaheim (last year)," said Alford.

This season's Charleston Classic includes Auburn, Baylor, Boston College, Charleston, Colorado, Dayton, Murray State and St. John’s.

Other exempt tournaments owned and run by ESPN include the DirecTV Classic in Anaheim, CA; The Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu, HI; the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, FL; the Puerto Rico Tip-Off in San Juan, PR; the State Farm Champions Classic at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA and the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY. ESPN also produces the Bracketbusters game series.

UNM played in the DirecTV Classic (then called the 76 Classic and televised on ESPN) last season and is playing in the exempt Paradise Jam tournament in the Virgin Islands this season. Paradise Jam will have select games televised on CBS Sports Network, including New Mexico's opening game against Illinois-Chicago. Also being televised are the tournament's semifinals, consolation championship game and championship game.