Local News

Civic Auditorium Ready for ESPN Televised Games

(La Porte, IN) - Tickets are selling fast for an upcoming high school basketball invitational featuring some of the best major college basketball recruits in the nation.


La Lumiere is one of the eight teams in the U.S. Marines National Interscholastic Basketball Conference Invitational to be televised by ESPN. During the three-day invitational beginning January 6, teams will play games at the near century-old Civic Auditorium.


La Porte Civic Auditorium Director Brett Binversie said more tickets had been sold for the games on January 8, which he expects to sell out by the end of the week. Ticket sales are not too far behind for games scheduled the first two days of the invitational.


“Thursday and Saturday are going to be some great days as well as Friday,” Binversie said.

The Civic Auditorium, which used to be home to the La Porte High School boys’ basketball team until the 1970s, has more than 1,300 seats. Nearly 1,000 seats will be available for the invitational to provide social distancing because of the latest COVID-19 surge at the request of the invitational committee.


Masks will be provided to people who want one but are not mandated.


"We’re going to reduce the capacity by 25-percent just to help with things,” Binversie explained.

Extra glass backboards have also been obtained in case any of the ones used during the games are shattered from a slam dunk by the high-quality athletes.


"We’re trying to plan accordingly just in case,” Binversie said.

Binversie said the Paragon Marketing Group, which is putting on the event, along with crews from ESPN, have visited the Civic Auditorium several times in recent weeks to help prepare for the invitational and telecasts.


“The behind-the-scenes work on this has been extensive,” he said. He and other city employees have also invested extra time making sure the always well-maintained Civic Auditorium is as spotless and ready to go for the invitational as possible.


“This is our chance to shine on a national spotlight as well, so, a lot of effort has been put into making sure everything is perfect,” he said.

The NIBC is a new high school basketball conference including local LaPorte private school La Lumiere and seven other basketball teams from college prep schools from Maryland to Utah and as far south as Florida.


Tickets are $20 for each day, with games scheduled Thursday at 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m., and 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday games are scheduled at 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m., and 8 p.m.


Tickets are available at www.civictix.eventbrite.com. or at the Civic Auditorium, the LaPorte Park and Recreation Office, and the LaPorte County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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