The national spotlight will shine on Jacksonville again on Nov. 9, when the NBC Sports Network will televise the Navy-Marine Corps Classic basketball game live.
The contest between the University of Florida and Georgetown University will tip off at 9 p.m. and will be played aboard the deck of the USS Bataan at Naval Station Mayport.
"I'm excited to have NBC Sports Network on board for the Navy-Marine Corps Classic," said Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown. "This promises to be much more than a game; it's an opportunity for a national audience to see two great teams in a unique setting that showcases the pride Jacksonville residents have for our city's longstanding friendship with the military and veteran community."
Accompanying the USS Bataan as a representational amphibious ready group (ARG) will be USS Mesa Verde (LPD 18) and USS Carter Hall (LSD 50).
The Bataan ARG is a representation of the group of ships Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced earlier this year that will be homeported in Mayport beginning the last quarter of 2013. USS New York (LPD 21) will arrive in Mayport in the last quarter of 2013. USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) and USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) will follow in 2014. By serving as the homeport for an ARG, Mayport will be home to 2,000 additional sailors and their families, and sustain the area's ship repair facilities, local ship maintenance expertise and the industrial base.
Preceding the basketball game will be a concert by award-winning country artists Little Big Town, performing songs from their new album, "Tornado," including their No. 1 song "Pontoon." The band has sold 1.5 million albums, earning multiple Grammy, Country Music Awards and American Country Music Awards nominations.
"Little Big Town is one of the top acts in country music, and we look forward to them putting on a great show, as well as singing the National Anthem before the game," said Alan Verlander, executive director of sports and entertainment for the city of Jacksonville. "There is so much excitement about this event and partnering with NBC Sports Network, and the addition of an incredible concert will make this an even more memorable experience."
The basketball classic will follow an NFL game the previous evening between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Indianapolis Colts, which will be televised nationally on the NFL Network on Nov. 8. The Jaguars and the Colts will kick off the NFL's "Salute to Service" weekend, making Jacksonville the destination city for military and sports for Veterans Day weekend.
"The Navy-Marine Corps Classic is a proud demonstration of support from the city of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Jaguars for our brave military service members," a news release reads. "Nearly one in four Jacksonville residents has a link to military service, whether as an active duty service member, a guardsmen or reservist, retired military member or a veteran. The collective local economic impact of the military and veteran community is $15 billion annually."
Proceeds from this game will go directly to benefit local military affairs efforts, according to the release.