National basketball championship predicted to pay-off for Langara

The college hosts the men's national college basketball championship later this month

Langara Falcons taking a shot on net against the Camosun Chargers. Photo by Rena Medow
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Reported by Rena Medow

Langara is expected to get a return on the money and labour it’s investing in hosting the men’s national college basketball championship, according to the head of the athletic department.

Jake McCallum, Langara’s director of athletics and intramurals, is confident hosting the prestigious eight-team tournament is worth the cost, despite having to rent space at the Langley Events Centre due to the unsuitable conditions of Langara’s gym.

For the first time since 1997, Langara will host the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association tournament, from March 14-16.

“The men’s basketball is highly sought after, so for us to host a national event of this calibre puts us in good standing nationally,” McCallum said. “It can be used for recruiting as well.”

Accumulating costs as host

The college’s financial responsibilities include dozens of different expenses, such as gifts for athletes, a banquet and the standard bid for the CCAA licensing fee of $7,500.

McCallum said he won’t know the final price-tag of hosting until after the event is over.

“I would say if you do a good job it’s cheaper to host the CCAA than it is to go [travel] to the championship,” McCallum said.

Sponsors like Clif Bar & Company, gate money and revenue from apparel sales help buffer the end cost for the college.

Albert Roche, the athletic director at Holland College, said when they hosted the championship in 2017 it was well worth the $15,000 total.

“When you get to host the country, it brings a lot of profile to your area and creates a lot of economic activity,” Roche said.

Because Langara’s gym capacity cannot handle the expected attendance, the college has entered a profit-sharing agreement with Langley’s stadium.

Student support

McCallum also acknowledged that hosting the championship in Langley will likely decrease student attendance.

“Obviously proximity is difficult,” McCallum said. “If we were hosting [in Langara’s gym], students would come down after class and watch.”

Health science student, Amandeep Kaur, thinks many Langara students are unaware of the upcoming event.

“I have never seen sports happening at Langara,” she said.

Biology student Amandeep Singh suggested, “Langara should put more advertisements or banners so that other students can know.”

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